Question

Atrial Fibrillation

Can stopping smoking help prevent atrial fibrillation?

A Answers (2)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    YES!! We know you have plenty of reasons on your list of why you should quit smoking, but we’re going to add another one: avoiding atrial fibrillation (AF):  Smokers are about 50% more likely than nonsmokers to develop AF.

    By the way, if you occasionally inhale a certain illegal herbal product, this means you, too. So the sooner you breathe free, the sooner your risk of AF drops.

  • ADouglas Severance, MD, Family Medicine, answered
    If you smoke cigarettes, quitting the habit can help prevent atrial fibrillation, because nicotine is a stimulant that can trigger the irregular heartbeats of this disorder. On top of that, smoking doubles your risk of having a stroke. Cigarette smoking also increases blood pressure, which is a risk factor for both atrial fibrillation and stroke.

    Talk with your doctor about stopping smoking. There are over-the-counter and prescription medications that are effective in helping people quit cigarettes. Once you make the commitment to stop smoking, stick with it. Remove all reminders of cigarettes such as ashtrays from your home and office. In addition, try new routines such as having coffee outside or walking the stairs at work instead of smoking, to distract yourself.
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