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Cigarette Smoking and Chest Pain

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Grant support: a grant from the Council for Tobacco Research—U.S.A. and general support from the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Gary D. Friedman, M.D., The Permanente Medical Group, 3779 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611.

Oakland, California

Ann Intern Med. 1975;83(1):1-7. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-83-1-1
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Analysis of questionnaire responses of 70 208 persons undergoing multiphasic health checkups showed a greater proportion of cigarette smokers than nonsmokers (excesses averaging 1.6-fold in white men, 1.3-fold in white women) admitting to nine types of chest pain. This excess in smokers was greater in younger individuals, and applied about equally to anginalike and nonanginalike pain. The smoking/chest pain association was not explained by greater alcohol or coffee consumption, diminished pain tolerance, or less reliability among smokers; nor did it appear to be mediated chiefly by excess cough, shortness of breath, coronary disease, or musculoskeletal complaints in smokers. Although smokers averaged more complaints than nonsmokers, chest pain resembled clearly smoking-related symptoms, such as cough, when the number of each subject's complaints was considered. Although more smokers had chest pain no type of pain was unique to smokers, suggesting that the "tobacco angina" concept be discarded or reserved for rare patients with coronary heart disease in whom smoking clearly provokes angina pectoris.


smoking ; chest pain





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