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Don’t Want a Stroke? Quit Smoking!

If you are unaware of the negative side effects associated with smoking, then I might question what rock you have been living under for the last 30-40 years.

It has been well documented that smoking is directly linked to respiratory disease, lung disease, lung cancer, COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bad breath and yellow teeth - just to name a few.

While most of us would like to think that these would be enough reasons for people to quit smoking, sadly, the addiction can often be stronger than logic.

However, thanks to a Finnish study, we have more, and some might argue, irrefutable proof of the benefits of quitting smoking.

When a person suffers from a stroke, it can be a life changing event, and one that is often fatal. The most deadly type of stroke that a person can suffer is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is a serious and potential fatal type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space that surrounds the brain. Subarachnoid hemorrhage, or SAH, is caused by a ruptured aneurysm that deprives the brain of oxygen.

No, circle back to a study done in Finland that was conducted in order to monitor the relation between smoking rates and strokes.

Between 1998 and 2012, the country of Finland so the national smoking rate drop 30 percent among men and women between the ages of 15-64.

During this period, the cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage also went down by 45 percent among women under 50 and 38 percent among men under 50. There was also a 16 percent drop among cases in women over 50 and a 26 percent drop among men in the 50 plus category.

So how did Finland do it?

Well, many researchers believe that it was a change in the countries tobacco policies that is responsible for the optimistic drop in smoking and stroke related mortality. Finland has started to promote a series of anti-smoking health campaigns as well as legislative efforts against the sale of tobacco and its use in public.

According to Professor Jaakko Kaprio of the University of Helsinki, who's findings were published in the journal of Neurology, “It is extraordinary for the incidence of any cardiovascular disease to decrease so rapidly at the population level in such a short time.”

“Even though we cannot demonstrate a direct causation in nation-wide studies, it is highly likely that the national tobacco policies in Finland have contributed to the decline in the incidence of this type of severe brain hemorrhage.”

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