BOSTON — Cigarettes with low levels of tar and nicotine do not protect female smokers from the risk of heart attack, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine reported Wednesday.
In a three-year study of more than 3,000 female smokers and nonsmokers, the investigators discovered that smokers were four times more likely to have a heart attack than nonsmokers and that smoking "safer" cigarettes did not make a difference in the heart attack rate.
A 1983 study found the same results in men.
The new study of women under 65, which appears in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, comes at a time when the tobacco industry is using "advertising campaigns that imply that some cigarettes--'low yield brands'--are safe, or safer than others," the researchers said.
"What these findings mean for smokers, at least as they relate to heart disease, is that there is no advantage to switching brands," said Julie Palmer, an epidemiologist and chief author of the study.