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If you smoke, your chance of dying from a heart attack is 2 to 3 times greater than that of a person who does not smoke. About 1 out of 4 heart attacks is believed to be directly related to smoking. Smoking is a much more important risk factor for a heart attack than high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure, or stress. Exercise and a good diet cannot erase the risks to your heart caused by smoking.
Smoking even a few cigarettes a day (1 to 4) increases your risk of coronary artery disease. If a person who smokes has a heart attack, his or her risk of sudden death is twice as great as the risk of a person who does not smoke.footnote 1
After you quit:
How soon you quit matters. People who quit smoking before age 50 reduce by half their risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with continuing smokers. But if you quit smoking before age 35, almost all of the risks from smoking can be reversed.
If you already have coronary artery disease, your risk of a second heart attack and possible sudden death decreases when you quit smoking.
A person who smokes is twice as likely to die from a stroke as a person who does not smoke. After you quit, your risk of stroke slowly goes down over time.
CitationsNational Guideline Clearinghouse (2001, revised 2013). Guideline synthesis: Treatment of tobacco dependence. Available online: http://www.guideline.gov/syntheses/synthesis.aspx?id=43817.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineElizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMichael F. Bierer, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofNovember 29, 2017
Current as of: November 29, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Michael F. Bierer, MD - Internal Medicine
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