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Smoking and Heart Disease Introduction
A person's risk of heart disease and heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes he or she smokes. Smokers continue to increase their risk of heart attack the longer they smoke. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart attack than nonsmokers. Women who smoke and also take birth control pills increase several times their risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Cigarette smoke not only affects smokers. When you smoke, the people around you are also at risk for developing health problems, especially children. Environmental tobacco smoke (also called passive smoke or secondhand smoke) affects people who are frequently around smokers. Secondhand smoke can cause chronic respiratory conditions, cancer, and heart disease. It is estimated that around 35,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease each year as a result of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.
How Does Smoking Increase Heart Disease Risk?
The nicotine present in smoke causes heart disease by:
How Can Quitting Smoking Be Helpful?
Now that you know how smoking can be harmful to your health and the health of those around you, here are some ways quitting can be helpful. If you quit smoking, you will:
- Prolong your life.
- Reduce your risk of disease (including heart disease, heart attack,
blood pressure, lung cancer, throat cancer,
gum disease, and
- Feel healthier. After quitting, you won't cough as much, you'll have fewer
sore throats and you will increase your stamina.
- Look better. Quitting can help you prevent face
wrinkles, get rid of
stained teeth, and improve your skin.
- Improve your sense of taste and smell.
- Save money.
How to Quit Smoking
There's no one way to quit smoking that works for everyone. To quit, you must be ready both emotionally and mentally. You must also want to quit smoking for yourself and not to please your friends or family. It helps to plan ahead. This guide may help get you started.
What Should I Do First to Stop Smoking?
Pick a date to stop smoking and then stick to it.
Write down your reasons for quitting smoking. Read over the list every day, before and after you quit. Here are some tips to think about.
- Write down when you smoke, why you smoke, and what you are doing when you
smoke. You will learn what triggers you to smoke.
- Stop smoking cigarettes in certain situations (such as during your work
break or after dinner) before actually quitting.
- Make a list of activities you can do instead of smoking. Be ready to do
something else when you want to smoke.
- Ask your doctor about using
nicotine gum or patches. Some people find these
- Join a smoking cessation support group or program. Call your local chapter of the American Lung Association.
How Can I Avoid Smoking Again?
- Don't carry a lighter, matches, or cigarettes. Keep all of these smoking
reminders out of sight.
- If you live with a smoker, ask that person not to smoke in your presence,
or better yet, to quit with you.
- Don't focus on what you are missing. Think about the healthier way of life
you are gaining.
- When you get the urge to smoke, take a deep breath. Hold it for 10 seconds
and release it slowly. Repeat this several times until the urge to smoke is
- Keep your hands busy. Doodle, play with a pencil or straw, or work on a
- Change activities that were connected to smoking cigarettes. Take a walk or
read a book instead of taking a cigarette break.
- When you can, avoid places, people, and situations associated with smoking.
Hang out with nonsmokers or go to places that don't allow smoking, such as the
movies, museums, shops, or libraries.
- Don't substitute food or sugar-based products for cigarette smoking. Eat
low-calorie, healthful foods (such as carrot or celery sticks, sugar-free hard
candies) or chew gum when the urge to smoke strikes so you can avoid weight
- Drink plenty of fluids, but limit alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. They
can trigger urges to smoke.
- Exercise. Exercising will help you relax.
- Get support for quitting. Tell others about your milestones with pride.
- Work with your doctor to develop a plan using over-the-counter or prescription nicotine-replacement aids.
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How Will I Feel When I Quit Smoking?
You may crave cigarettes, be irritable, feel very hungry, cough often, get headaches, or have difficulty concentrating. These symptoms of withdrawal occur because your body is used to nicotine, the active addictive agent within cigarettes.
When withdrawal symptoms occur within the first two weeks after quitting, stay in control. Think about your reasons for quitting. Remind yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and getting used to being without cigarettes.
The withdrawal symptoms are only temporary. They are strongest when you first quit but will usually go away within 10 to 14 days. Remember that withdrawal symptoms are easier to treat than the major diseases -- like heart disease and lung cancer -- that smoking can cause.
You may still have the desire to smoke, since there are many strong associations with smoking. People may associate smoking with specific situations, with a variety of emotions or with certain people in their lives. The best way to overcome these associations is to experience them without smoking cigarettes. If you relapse do not lose hope. Seventy-five percent of those who quit smoke again. Most smokers quit three times before they are successful. If you relapse, don't give up! Plan ahead and think about what you will do next time you get the urge to smoke.
The good news is your risk of heart disease is cut in half after quitting tobacco for one year. After 15 smoke free years, your risk is similar to that of a person who has never smoked.
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Blood Clots (in the Leg)Blood clots can occur in the venous and arterial vascular system. Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract and uterus. Risk factors for causes of blood clots include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms of a blood clot depend on the location of the clot. Some blood clots are a medical emergency. Blood clots are treated depending upon the cause of the clot. Blood clots can be prevented by lowering the risk factors for developing blood clots.
What Is the Difference Between Electrocardiogram and Electrocardiograph?An electrocardiogram or electrocardiograph (ECG or EKG) are the same thing. An EKG is a test that examines the heart function by measuring the electrical activity of the heart. Based on the electrocardiogram, the doctor determines whether the electrical activity of the heart is normal or irregular, aiding in diagnosis of various heart problems.
How the Heart Works: Sides, Chambers, and FunctionThe heart is a very important organ in the body. It is responsible for continuously pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. It is a fist-sized muscle that beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping a total of five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Homocysteine (Normal and Elevated Levels Blood Test)
Elevated homocysteine levels in the blood called hyperhomocysteinemia, is a sign that the body isn't producing enough of the amino acid homocysteine. is a rare and serious condition that may be inherited (genetic). People with homocystinuria die at an early age. Symptoms of hyperhomocysteinemia include developmental delays, osteoporosis, blood clots, heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and visual abnormalities.
There are other causes of hyperhomocysteinemia, for example, alcoholism.
Supplementing the diet with folic acid and possibly vitamins B6 and B12 supplements can lower homocysteine levels. Currently there is no direct proof that taking folic acid and B vitamins lower homocysteine levels and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Talk to your doctor if you feel you need to have your homocysteine blood levels checked.
What Is the Difference Between Left and Right Heart Catheterization?Cardiac catheterization, also known as cardiac cath or heart cath, is a procedure to examine the functioning of the heart. A catheter is inserted into a blood vessel of an arm or a leg, and is guided to the arteries of the heart using an X-ray camera. A contrast dye is injected into the blood vessel to get an X-ray view of the valves, arteries, and the heart chambers. Catheterization of the left side of the heart is performed by passing the catheter through the artery. In catheterization of the right side of the heart, the catheter passes through the veins.
Lung Cancer Myths/FactsLearn about lung cancer myths and facts. Explore how cigar smoke, menthol, and pollution can increase your risk of lung cancer and learn what to avoid.
Parathyroidectomy SurgeryParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
- need for a limited or total thyroidectomy,
- prolonged pain,
- impaired healing,
- and recurrence of the tumor.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
Smoking QuizYou know it's time you quit smoking. Learn the myths and facts about quitting smoking with the Smoking Quiz. When it comes to smoking, quitters always win!
StrokeA stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Triglycerides (Tests and Lowering Your Triglyceride Levels)Triglycerides are a common form of fat that we digest. Triglycerides are the main ingredient in animal fats and vegetable oils. Elevated levels of triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, fatty liver disease, and pancreatitis. Elevated levels of triglycerides are also associated with diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, and medications (for example, diuretics, birth control pills, and beta blockers). Dietary changes, and medication if necessary can help lower triglyceride blood levels.