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"It's a valid test" and is considered a good sign of how healthy the heart arteries are, said Dr. Alfred Bove, a Temple University heart specialist and president of the cardiology group.
Doctors found that artery function improved 1 percent in the quitters.
"That may not sound like much," but research shows that translates to a 14 percent lower risk of developing heart disease, Stein said.
"It's a small improvement at one year. The question is, do these folks keep getting better?" Bove said.
The study is continuing another two years to give an answer, Stein said.
London-based GlaxoSmithKline PLC provided smoking cessation medicines for that part of the study, and several authors have research funding from the company. Federal government grants paid for the artery study.
On the Net:
Cardiology conference: http://www.acc.org/
Quit-smoking guide: http://www.smokefree.gov/
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