Smokers who quit after acute myocardial infarction have similar levels of chest pain and mental health as non-smokers, according to a study published August 25 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 

Lead author Donna Buchanan, PhD, and fellow investigators monitored 4,003 U.S. adults regarding smoking, chest pain, and health-related quality of life measures for 12 months after acute myocardial infarction. Of these patients, 29% had never smoked at admission, 34% were former smokers who quit before acute myocardial infarction, and 37% were active smokers. Of the active smokers, 46% quit smoking within the first year after acute myocardial infarction. 

One year after the myocardial infarction, those who continued smoking had a 1.5-fold higher odds of having chest pain compared with those who never smoked. Their assessment scores were 3.5 points lower for quality of life related to chest pain, 1.6 points lower for general physical functioning, and 2.3 points lower for general mental health.

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The researchers found that individuals who stopped smoking before acute myocardial infarction had a similar health status to those who had never smoked. Smokers who quit within a year after acute myocardial infarction had intermediate levels of chest pain and mental health that were similar to those who had never smoked.