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Will quitting smoking reduce my risk for circulatory disorders?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Yes.  If you quit before age 35 and before you have smoked a pack a day for 20 years, that is what we call 20 pack years, as long as you are below that, you will almost, over a 5 year period, be able to return your arteries, that is the arteries to your heart, your head, your sexual organs, even your face, to normal.  You will notice this pretty quickly as stopping smoking allows the inner cells of your arteries, called the endothelial cells, to start producing the nitric oxide gas that allows them to dilate normally.  That is why erections, sex, and your face, get to look so much better so quicker.  That takes about 6 months of no tobacco, including no second-hand smoke.  Over 5 years, you start to pull plaque out of arteries and the inflammatory changes in plaque out of the arteries that were caused by smokes effect on cholesterol in the artery wall.  So, the answer is definitely yes.  Peripheral vascular disease, stroke, heart disease, memory loss, impotence, even wrinkling of the skin, all are lessened when you quit tobacco.

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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.