(CNN) – Smoking is bad for your heart, especially if you’re a young woman.
A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says that women under 50 who smoke may face the highest risk of a serious type of heart attack compared to men.
In the study, women between 18 and 49 years old had a greater than 13 times higher risk of acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) compared to non-smokers in the same age range.
Young male smokers had an increased risk of 8.6 times compared to non-smokers in the age range.
STEMI, one of the most life-threatening forms of heart disease, occurs when an artery that supplies blood and oxygen to the heart becomes blocked.
Earlier research has shown that smoking is the cause of 50 percent of STEMI cases.
This is one of the first studies to quantify just how bad smoking is for the hearts of women compared to men.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heart disease is already the top killer of women and men.
Smoking, which is a strong risk factor for heart disease, is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S, according to the CDC.