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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to better clarify the risks associated with cigarette smoking and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). METHODS: The study included 432 incident cases of SAH frequency matched to 473 community SAH-free controls to determine dose-dependent associations of active and passive smoking (at home) and smoking cessation with SAH. RESULTS: Compared with never smokers not exposed to passive smoking, the adjusted odds ratio for SAH among current smokers was 5.0 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.1 to 8.1); for past smokers, 1.2 (95% CI, 0.8 to 2.0); and for passive smokers, 0.9 (95% CI, 0.6 to 1.5). Current and lifetime exposures showed a clear dose-dependent effect, and risks appeared more prominent in women and for aneurysmal SAH. Approximately 1 in 3 cases of SAH could be attributed to current smoking, but risks decline quickly after smoking cessation, even among heavy smokers. CONCLUSIONS: A strong positive association was found between cigarette smoking and SAH, especially for aneurysmal SAH and women, which is virtually eliminated within a few years of smoking cessation. Large opportunities exist for preventing SAH through smoking avoidance and cessation programs.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





633 - 637


Australia, Case-Control Studies, Comorbidity, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, New Zealand, Odds Ratio, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Subarachnoid Hemorrhage, Tobacco Smoke Pollution