FACTS ABOUT SMOKING AND CORONARY HEART DISEASE
- Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of death caused by smoking.
- Smoking is hard on the heart, and the toxins in cigarette smoke cause plaques to form in the arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries.
- Coronary heart disease and stroke - the primary types of cardiovascular disease caused by smoking - are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.
- Toxins in the blood from smoking cigarettes contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
- Atherosclerosis is a progressive hardening of the arteries caused by the deposit of fatty plaques and the scarring and thickening of the artery wall. Inflammation of the artery wall and the development of blood clots can obstruct blood flow and cause heart attacks or strokes.
- Cigarette smoking has been associated with sudden cardiac death of all types in both men and women.
- Smoking-related coronary heart disease may contribute to congestive heart failure. An estimated 4.6 million Americans have congestive heart failure and 43,000 die from it every year.
- Smoking low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes rather than regular cigarettes appears to have little effect on reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of strokes.
- The risk of stroke decreases steadily after smoking cessation. Former smokers have the same stroke risk as nonsmokers after 5 to 15 years.