Does smoking increase my risk for heart-related problems?

Cigarette smoking is a widespread and significant cardiac risk factor. Smokers have at least twice the risk of heart attack or stroke as nonsmokers. They also have less chance of surviving a heart attack than nonsmokers.
Smoking definitely increases a person's risk of heart-related problems. If a person stops smoking, his/her risk of death from heart-related disease is reduced by 50%.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
You bet smoking increases your risk of heart problems, including death by heart attack. The bad effects of tobacco on your heart have been known for decades. Tobacco raises your blood pressure, raises your heart rate, lowers your good (HDL) cholesterol, and clogs your arteries with fatty plaques. It lowers your ability to exercise and increases your blood's tendency to form artery-blocking blood clots. The good news is that quitting cigarettes cuts your heart risk. One year after you quit, your risk drops to half that of a smoker.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Does it ever. Smoking increases your risk of heart-related problems in several ways. When you light up, the nicotine in tobacco damages your arteries, and causes fat and other junk to build up in them, like a highway congested with traffic. The end result? Harder, narrower blood vessels -- a recipe for heart disease and stroke.

Cigarette smoking doubles your risk for stroke, and it increases your risk for blood clots, aneurysms and heart attack. Smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers.
Smoking absolutely increases your risk for heart problems. In fact, it damages your entire cardiovascular system. So not only is your heart affected - but so are all the blood vessels that form a network to carry blood throughout your body. In addition, smoking contributes to respiratory diseases and various types of cancer.
Smoking is a major contributor to the following cardiovascular problems:
  • heart attack
  • heart failure
  • angina (chest pain from heart artery blockages)
  • stroke
  • peripheral artery disease (blockages in the arteries leading to the legs and arms)
  • renal artery disease (blockages in the arteries leading to the kidneys)
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
Quitting smoking can improve your cardiovascular health immediately, and the benefits are clear: For example, the risk for a heart attack drops sharply after just 1 year. Stroke risk can fall to about the same as a non-smoker’s after just 2 to 5 years.
Joanne M. Foody, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for a heart attack. It also puts you at risk for lung cancer, increases your chance of a stroke, and leads to coughing and shortness of breath. Furthermore, smoking affects the health of those around you – including your family.

The good news is that it’s never too late to quit. If you stop smoking, you’ll improve your health and reduce your long-term risks – and you’ll see immediate benefits, some within just a few hours! And the benefits don’t stop there - Within several years your stroke and heart disease risk can equal that of a non-smoker’s and your risk of cancer will be dramatically reduced as well.
Yes. Smokers are twice as likely to die from heart attacks as are non-smokers. And smoking is a major risk factor for peripheral vascular disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the leg and arm muscles. Smoking also affects the walls of the vessels that carry blood to the brain (carotid arteries), which can cause strokes. Men who smoke are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (impotence) because of blood vessel disease.

Continue Learning about Impact Of Nicotine Addiction On The Body

Impact Of Nicotine Addiction On The Body

Impact Of Nicotine Addiction On The Body

Nicotine addiction is just as strong as addiction to alcohol or cocaine, and it causes changes in the brain that make you crave nicotine even more. Once inhaled into the lungs through smoke, nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstre...

am and carried throughout your body. Nicotine can affect the heart, blood vessels, hormones and brain function. Learn more from our experts about how to overcome it.

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.