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Research in Finland links killer strokes to smoking

By Jack Hardy

Published 13/08/2016

In recent years, Finland has slashed smoking numbers through a series of public health campaigns and legislative action
In recent years, Finland has slashed smoking numbers through a series of public health campaigns and legislative action

A possible link between a deadly form of stroke and smoking has been discovered by scientists.

Researchers in Finland found a sharp drop in the number of people who suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage - the most fatal form of stroke - occurred in the same period as a decline in smoking numbers.

Between 1998 and 2012 the number of people who smoked plunged 30% among 15 to 64-year-olds in the country, the study found.

During this time, cases of the killer stroke also went down by 45% among women under 50 and 38% among men under 50, as well as by 16% among women over 50 and 26% among men over 50.

Scientists said they could not establish whether the change in smoking habits caused the drop, but it was "highly likely" Finnish tobacco policies played a role.

A British charity said the findings were a "wake-up call" to smokers and this should help motivate people to quit.

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