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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Smoking: Heart Attack and Stroke Risks
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 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
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.footnote 2 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
A person who smokes is twice as likely to die from
stroke as a person who does not smoke. After you quit, your risk of stroke slowly goes down over time.
National Guideline Clearinghouse (2001, revised 2013). Guideline synthesis: Treatment of tobacco dependence. Available online: http://www.guideline.gov/syntheses/synthesis.aspx?id=43817.
American Cancer Society (2013). Guide to quitting smoking. Available online: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/index.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJohn Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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