Why should I pay attention to tobacco?
Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Any amount of smoking, even light or occasional, damages the heart and blood vessels. The chemicals in tobacco smoke harm your blood cells, the structure and function of your blood vessels and the function of your heart.
If smoking damages the arteries that supply blood to the heart, it can lead to chest pain, irregular heart rhythm, heart attack, heart failure or death. If smoking damages the arteries that supply blood to other parts of the body, it can lead to peripheral arterial disease, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
Secondhand smoke also greatly increases the risk of heart attack and death. Each year, an estimated 46,000 nonsmokers die in the U.S. from heart disease caused by secondhand smoke.
How can I reduce my risk?
If you smoke, quitting will reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease. That’s true regardless of how long or how much you’ve smoked. If you are a smoker with heart disease, quitting will reduce your risk of sudden cardiac arrest and other complications. Quitting actually helps reverse heart and blood vessel damage and reduces your risk, so it’s never too late to quit.
Avoiding secondhand smoke can also help reverse heart and blood vessel damage and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
How can I quit smoking?
Quitting is hard, but it can be done. Visit smokefree.gov for tips and more information.