In a new study reported in Human Brain Mapping, people who smoked had three times greater risk of developing chronic back pain than non-smokers.Pascal Maramis/Flickr

Women who smoke put themselves at a higher risk of brain bleeding than the non-smokers, a research conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland has said. The study was published in the  American Heart Association's journal Stroke.

Female smokers are more likely to suffer from Subarachnoid hemorrhage(SH), which is characterised by the bleeding in the lining between brain's surface and its tissues.

The study analysed that women who smoke more than a packet of cigarettes ( 21 to 30 cigarettes ) were eight times more likely to develop SH that eventually leads to stroke than the non-smokers.

The risk of the stroke dramatically increased when these women exercised or were having sex, the study added. 

The chances of suffering from brain bleed/stroke decreased for light smokers who had one to 10 cigarettes per day. These women were found to be three times more likely to suffer from SH and stroke than those who never smoked.

For female smokers who had 11 to 20 cigarettes per day, the chances of SH and stroke increased fourfold.

Surprisingly, for men the risk for developing brain illnesses was lesser.

Experts explained that the female gender has been found to be an independent risk factor for SH.

"Female sex has been described as an independent risk factor for subarachnoid hemorrhage, but we found strong evidence that the elevated risk in women is explained by vulnerability to smoking,"  lead author Joni Valdemar Lindbohm, physician at the University of Helsinki in Finland said, according to the ANI.

The researchers further said that smoking has a dose-dependent and cumulative association with SH risk, and this risk is highest in female smokers. "Vulnerability to smoking seems to explain in part the increased SAH risk in women,"  they added.

The study, however, found that those women who quit the habit reduced their chances of SH or stroke risk and that within six months of quitting smoking, the risk among former smokers was found to be at the same level as that of non-smokers.