Background: To examine the joint effects of smoking and blood pressure on the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a cohort of Chinese men. Methods: This study followed a cohort of 213,221 men over 40 years of age who were recruited from 45 district/counties across China between 1990–1991, and whose cause-specific mortality was examined for 15 years, up to 31 December 2005. We calculated hazard ratios for all-cause mortality and CVD, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and stroke mortality for the combined sets of smoking status and blood pressure levels using the Cox proportional hazard model, adjusting for potential individual-level and contextual-level risk factors. Results: During the 15 years of follow-up, 52,795 deaths occurred, including 18,833 deaths from CVD, 3744 deaths from IHD, and 11,288 deaths from stroke. The risk of mortality from CVD, IHD, and stroke increased significantly, with increased systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and with more pack years of smoking. Compared with never-smokers with normal blood pressure, the hazard ratios and 95% CI of CVD, IHD, and stroke mortality for those who smoked over 20 pack years with hypertension were remarkably increased to 2.30 (95% CI: 2.12–2.50), 1.78 (95% CI: 1.48–2.14), and 2.74 (95% CI: 2.45–3.07), respectively. Conclusion: There was a combined effect on the risk of CVD, IHD, and stroke mortality between smoking and hypertension. The joint efforts on smoking cessation and lowered blood pressure should be made to prevent cardiovascular disease mortality in Chinese men.
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