Effect of Cardiorespiratory Fitness on Co-Morbidities and Mortality in Never, Past, and Current Smokers

Nóra Sydó, Béla Merkely, Karina A.Gonzalez Carta, Dávid Becker, Nasir Hussain, Joseph G. Murphy, Tibor Sydó, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Thomas G. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Smoking is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular (CV) disease and mortality, but quitting may cause weight gain and increase the risk of co-morbidities. Our aim was to investigate the effect of smoking and exercise on weight-associated co-morbidities and mortality. We included Minnesota residents without baseline CV disease who underwent exercise testing from 1993 to 2010. Mortality was determined from Mayo Clinic records and Minnesota Death Index. Total, CV and cancer mortality by smoking status and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF): (1) <80%, (2) 80% to 99%, (3) ≥100%. Differences were tested using logistic and Cox regression adjusting for age and gender. A total of 21,981 patients (7,090 past, 2,464 current smokers) were included. Past smokers had more obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and low CRF compared with never smokers. Current smokers did not show increased risk factor prevalence compared with never smokers but had higher rates of low CRF. There were 1,749 deaths; mean follow-up was 12 ± 5 years. Mortality was only slightly increased in past versus never smokers (Hazard Ratio: 1.2; 95% confidence interval 1.12 to 1.38) but was much higher in current smokers (Hazard Ratio 2.4; 95% confidence interval 2.05 to 2.80). Mortality in never, past, and current smokers was inversely related to CRF level. In conclusion, past smokers showed higher rates of co-morbidities and low CRF, but mortality was only mildly increased versus never smokers, whereas current smokers carried a high mortality risk. Our data suggest that quitting smoking is beneficial despite the increased co-morbidities. Exercise may potentially mitigate the risk of co-morbidities and death in those who quit smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1765-1772
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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