Can quitting smoking help prevent atrial fibrillation?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

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.

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
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.
Dr. Mowaffak Atfeh, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Smoking leads to lung disease, and lung disease is usually a trigger for atrial fibrillation. In this video Mowaffak Atfeh, MD from Oak Hill Hospital explains how smoking and heart conditions are connected.

Continue Learning about Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation -- the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia -- causes an irregular heartbeat that can increase your risk for stroke and heart failure. Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) results from faulty signals produced by ...

the heart's electrical system, causing the upper portion of the heart to fibrillate, or contract rapidly and irregularly. AFib doesn't cause noticeable symptoms for everyone. For those who do experience symptoms, heart palpitations are common along with feeling weak, dizzy and tired. Learn more about atrial fibrillation with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.