How Does Smoking Affect the Heart? Your heart disease risk increases with every cigarette you smoke. When you smoke, nicotine and other chemicals cause your heart rate to increase. As a result, your arteries begin to tighten and you can experience an irregular heart rhythm. Smoking can also increase your risk of high blood pressure, which is also a risk factor for heart disease.
Other Effects of Smoking
- Risk of stroke/brain damage
- Tooth decay
- Bad breath
- Macular degeneration
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Yellow teeth
- Various cancers like nose, lip, tongue and mouth
How Quickly Can You Start to Experience Health Benefits After Quitting Smoking?The benefits of quitting smoking can be almost immediate! Just 20 minutes after you last smoke, your heart rate and blood pressure begin to lower. Twelve hours after smoking your last cigarette, your carbon monoxide level drops to normal. One year later, your heart disease risk is half of someone who still smokes—15 years later, your risk is equal to a non-smoker.
Tips to Quit Smoking
- Know what to expect when quitting cold turkey.
- Consider nicotine replacement therapy.
- Make sure to give yourself grace.
- Find your support system.
- Know your reason to quit smoking.
- Eliminate triggers.
- Find new ways to manage stress.