Impact of smoking on your heart

If you have been struggling to give up smoking, here is something to push you against it even further. Did you know that tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke kill 6 million people a year with 28% of them being children? Dr. Prabhakara Shetty, Chief of Cardiology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur cautions us against the impact of smoking on your heart.

Smoking can harm almost every organ in the body. It not only affects the lungs but also the blood vessels, heart, brain, bones, bladder, digestive organs and reproductive organs.

The damage is not something that can be ignored. Estimates show that smoking increases the risk for coronary heart disease by 2-4 times, stroke by 2 to 4 times, men developing lung cancer by 25 times and women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times.

Plaque build-up

Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease by narrowing the blood vessels and promoting blood clotting inside the vessels. The smoke damages the lining of your arteries and facilitates the build-up of fat (atheroma) within the walls of the blood vessel. This process of plaque build-up in the arteries is called atherosclerosis – which is the basis of heart attack, stroke and other vascular diseases.


A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to the part of your brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Blocks in the blood vessels of the leg can reduce blood flow too.

The grim reality

Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke kill 6 million people a year with 28% of them being children. It is estimated to cause nearly 10% of cardiovascular disease. According to the reports by WHO, cardiovascular diseases cause the most number of the deaths in India and over 12% of all the deaths related to this are due to smoking, either active or passive. The chemicals inhaled during smoking tobacco can harm the blood cells. Tobacco is lethal in inducing cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke.

The solution:

Small lifestyle changes can make a powerful difference to our heart health. 30 minutes of activity a day, giving up smoking and eating a healthy diet can help prevent heart disease and stroke.

So, just put that cigarette butt off if you do not want to harm your heart further!

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