Author: Johnny d’Aquin MS, RRT, RPFT, University Medical Center Pulmonary Services Director
The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is “Tobacco and heart disease.” The goal is to raise awareness on the link between tobacco, and heart and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including stroke, which combined are the world’s leading causes of death.
The Truth About Tobacco and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease
The American Heart Association (AHA) says diseases caused by smoking kill more than 440,000 people in the U.S. each year. Smoking puts people at high risk of lung disease, including lung cancer and emphysema. Smokers also have increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill more people than any other cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 12% of all heart disease deaths.
- One out of every 5 smoking-related deaths is caused by heart disease.
- Women older than 35 who smoke and take birth control pills are at much greater risk for heart disease or stroke.
- Cigarette smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to get heart disease than nonsmokers.
- Cigarette smoking doubles a person’s risk for stroke.
How Does Smoking Change the Heart and Blood Vessels?
- Causes an instant and long-term rise in blood pressure.
- Causes an instant and long-term increase in heart rate.
- Reduces blood flow from the heart.
- Reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the body’s tissues.
- Increases risk for blood clots.
- Damages blood vessels.
- Doubles the risk of stroke (reduced blood flow to the brain).
Smoking has also been linked with depression and stress.
The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk of heart disease.
According to the AHA, stopping smoking reduces the risk for heart disease, the risk for repeat heart attacks, and death by heart disease by half.
Get Help/Quit Smoking
University Medical Center is partnering with the Smoking Cessation Trust to help people quit smoking.
If you smoked just one cigarette before September 1, 1988 and are a current Louisiana resident, you are eligible to register with the smoking cessation trust and get free help.