Cardiovascular Disease in Women – Smoking

Cigarette smoking is a habit that greatly increases your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, you are two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than a nonsmoker ,and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Smokers who have a heart attack are more likely to die and die suddenly, within an hour, than are nonsmokers. Smoking also boosts the risk of stroke.

While it is less harmful to smoke a little than to smoke a lot, even smoking a little is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In the United States, about four hundred thousand people die each year from diseases related to smoking; this is more than one thousand people a day. At least one in three of these deaths is related to heart disease.


How does smoking affect the heart?

Smoking increases the tendency of blood to clot inside blood vessels and obstruct blood flow. When blood flow to the heart is completely obstructed, the result is a heart attack.

Are low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes better for my health?

There is simply no safe way to smoke. Low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes do not reduce the risk of heart disease. The only safe and healthful choice is not to smoke at all.

What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is the smoke that you breathe in from someone else’s cigarette. Even nonsmokers can be harmed if they are near secondhand smoke. Up to five thousand smokers die from lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke each year. Nonsmokers who live with someone who smokes are twice more likely to have respiratory illness, bronchitis, and pneumonia than nonsmokers who do not live with someone who smokes. Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack.

What are the health benefits if I stop smoking?

The good news is that no matter how long you have been smoking, quitting smoking will greatly reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other serious diseases. Just one year after you stop smoking, you risk will drop by more than half and within several years, it will approach the risk of someone who has never smoked.

  • You will greatly lessen the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • You will greatly lessen the chances of getting lung cancer, emphysema, and other lung diseases.
  • You will have fewer colds and flu each year.
  • Your clothes, hair, breath, home, and car will smell better.
  • You will be able to climb stairs and walk without getting out of breath.
  • You will have fewer wrinkles.
  • You will be free of morning cough.
  • You will reduce the number of coughs, colds, and earaches your children may have.
  • You will have more energy to pursue physical activities that you enjoy.
  • You will have more control over your life.
What should I do to get ready to quit?
  • Once you decide to stop smoking, you’ll need to set a target date for quitting.
  • Make sure to choose a time when you won’t be under a lot of stress.
  • To help you stick to your quit date, you may want to make a contract with a family member or friend. Write “I will quit smoking on x day” on a sheet of paper and have that family member or friend sign it with you. Make sure the person that you select will be supportive in your effort to quit.
  • Also list on your contract how you’ll reward yourself each week and month of not smoking.
  • Plan to talk to your supporter regularly to share your progress and to ask for encouragement.
  • If possible, quit with a relative or friend.


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