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Smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to suffer a stroke, a new study finds. Smokers are also likely to have a stroke almost 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.

Within two years of quitting smoking, a person’s risk of stroke drops to the level of a nonsmoker, the study found. According to HealthDay, the study included 982 stroke patients. The average age of stroke victims who were smokers was 58, compared with 67 for nonsmokers. The study also found smoking raises the risk of stroke complications, and the odds of having subsequent strokes.

The findings were presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress in Ottawa. “The information from this study provides yet another important piece of evidence about the significance of helping people stop smoking,” study co-author Dr. Andrew Pipe of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute said in a news release.

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