Does quitting smoking reduce my risk of heart disease?

If you smoke, kick the habit! Smoking increases your risk for a heart attack by almost five times that of a non-smoker. In addition, it has been found that low-tar cigarettes are not effective in reducing the risk of heart disease in those people who use tobacco. This is one factor that can be eliminated completely and, after about five years, the additional risk of coronary artery disease associated with smoking disappears.
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Quitting smoking can significantly reduce heart disease risk. Within a year of quitting, smokers risk of heart disease is cut in half. In 15 years, the coronary artery disease risk for a former smoker is very close to that of a person who never smoked. One possible reason for this decrease in risk is that smoking probably contributes to blood vessel inflammation; removing that irritant should slow the inflammatory process.
The good news is that quitting dramatically cuts the risk to your heart, even during the first year, no matter what your age or how long you've been smoking. Even if you've had a heart attack, you'll benefit from quitting; estimates suggest that a woman's risk of having a second heart attack is cut by 50% or more after she stops smoking. Recent American Heart Association guidelines recommend counseling, nicotine replacement and other forms of therapy to help you stop smoking.
If you quit smoking, you'll see immediate health benefits -- even if you've smoked for many years. These include a reduction in your risk of heart attack. Ten years after quitting, your risk of death from heart disease is almost the same as if you had never smoked.

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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.