Does smoking increase my risk of circulatory disorders?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Smoking increases your risk of circulation-related problems because the chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage the walls of blood vessels throughout the body. Think of smoking as a drunk rock star and your body as a fancy hotel. It's a combo that's bound to end in an epic mess.

Some conditions or diseases that you are more likely to suffer when you smoke include:
  • Peripheral vascular disease, which means reduced blood flow in the arms or legs, leading to skin ulcers, infections, or even amputations
  • Strokes, which are clots that block blood vessels in the brain
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms, which are swelling or dilations of the aorta at the level of the abdomen. The aorta is a major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Smoking causes vascular disease by narrowing the arteries, which leads to heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction. 
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine

Nicotine causes vasoconstriction of blood vessels so in places like your heart, your legs, kidneys and any other small vessels so tobacco definitely increases that.  People that have claudication which is painful walking or peripheral vascular disease are at increased risk.  The other thing that smoking causes that affects circulation, it affects platelets and if you have atherogenic areas which are basically areas of cholesterol in blood vessels platelets stick to it and unfortunately the nicotine will cause those platelets to be more sticky so they will definitely increase the incidents of angina, ischemia or claudication or painful walking.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Yes.  The most predictable adverse effect of smoking or tobacco in general is it causes inflammation in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, memory loss, peripheral vascular disease, impotence, and even wrinkles.  A wrinkle is no different than a heart attack or impotence, it is just different blood vessels affected.  The ones in your skin cause wrinkles, the ones in your penis cause impotence, and the ones in your heart cause heart attacks, and the ones in your brain, memory loss.

Joseph I. Miller Jr., MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Smoking is a strong risk factor for heart trouble and strokes.  Even smoking one cigarette a day increases the chance of having a heart attack.  Smoking one cigarette carries the same risk as smoking a whole pack.  The other important source of smoking risk is second hand smoke.  Second hand smoke is as bad for you as directly smoking.

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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.