Monday, August 24, 1998 Published at 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Middle aged women take up smoking
Experts do not know why more women are smoking
An increasing number of middle-aged women are smoking, according to a major study by the World Health Organisation.
Health experts have warned that the increase in the habit will lead to more heart attacks.
Preliminary results of the decade-long study conducted in 38 countries show smoking has increased in women aged between 35 and 64.
In many parts of the world, particularly Asia and Russia, the number of women who smoke has risen by as much as 10-20%.
'No obvious answer'
Vienna cardiologist Dr Kurt Huber said nobody had the answer as to why more women are smoking.
Dr Huber said improving living standards in less developed countries had lead more people to take up smoking.
In those countries, more educational programmes were needed to explain the dangers of smoking and provide advice on how to kick the habit.
Dr Huber said: "I think this is the first step to reduce this risk Factor."