Smoking Priority: First Stop, Then Lose Weight

[Wall Street Journal; July 25, 2016] Smokers who are also overweight face a dilemma in trying to take care of their hearts: Should they focus first on losing weight or kicking the smoking habit? 

A new study suggests stopping smoking should be the first step. All smokers had a higher risk of suffering a first heart attack than nonsmokers. But the risk didn’t significantly go up for smokers who were also obese, the study, published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, found.

Among nonsmokers, heart-attack risk was significantly higher among obese people than those of normal weight. 

Smoking and obesity are major public health problems but it hasn’t been clear whether one is more harmful than the other, the researchers said.

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