Don’t let your health go up in smoke

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), diseases caused by smoking kill more than 440,000 people in the United States each year; of that number, more than 145,000 deaths are cardiovascular related. Even with anti-smoking campaigns and medical disclaimers in place, many people continue to smoke or start smoking every year.

Smokers not only have increased risk for lung disease, including lung cancer and emphysema, but also have increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and oral cancer.

Facts about smoking and cardiovascular disease:

  • One out of every five smoking-related deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease.
  • Cigarette smoking produces a greater risk for coronary heart disease in people younger than age 50.
  • Women older than age 35 who smoke and take oral contraceptives are at much greater risk of developing a cardiovascular disease or stroke than women who do not smoke while taking oral contraceptives.
  • Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease, or CHD, than nonsmokers.
  • Cigarette smoking doubles a person’s risk for stroke.
  • Cigarette smokers are more than ten times as likely as nonsmokers to develop peripheral vascular disease, or PVD.

The importance of smoking cessation

According to the AHA, eliminating smoking not only reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, but also reduces the risk for repeat heart attacks and death by heart disease by 50 percent. Research also indicates that smoking cessation is crucial in the management of many contributors to heart attack, including atherosclerosis, thrombosis, coronary artery disease, and cardiac arrhythmias.