Smoking and Heart Health

Smoking is harmful to your heart and can affect many parts of your body. It damages your heart and blood vessels, leading to a condition called atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up in your arteries. Even smoking occasionally can cause this damage, especially if you already have other risk factors like using birth control pills, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels. Smoking also increases your chances of developing peripheral artery disease (PAD), which can further raise your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. 

How does cigarette damage the heart? 

Nicotine, a potent addictive compound present in cigarettes, induces the release of adrenaline within the body, thereby accelerating heart rate and elevating blood pressure. This intensified physiological response places undue strain on the heart, exacerbating its workload. Furthermore, nicotine amplifies the susceptibility to myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, by fostering a proclivity for blood clot formation. This heightened clotting tendency significantly escalates the risk of debilitating cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Understanding the deleterious ramifications of nicotine on heart health underscores the imperative of smoking cessation efforts to preserve cardiovascular well-being.

In addition to nicotine, smoking exposes you to another harmful substance: carbon monoxide. This toxic gas is strongly linked to smoking-related heart problems. When you inhale cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide enters your bloodstream through your lungs and binds to your red blood cells. This reduces the amount of oxygen available to your heart muscles, leading to circulation issues and high blood pressure. Consequently, the risk of heart attack and stroke rises. However, the good news is that for former smokers who have quit for over a decade, the risk of heart disease drops significantly, almost to the same level as those who have never smoked.

Is Vaping/e-Cigarette a safe alternative to Smoking?

 Inhaling and exhaling vapor created by an electronic cigarette or other comparable device is known as vaping. To produce the vapor, these devices usually heat a liquid that contains flavorings, other compounds, and nicotine. As an alternative to traditional cigarettes, vaping has grown in popularity. Some people use vaping to cut back on their tobacco use or stop altogether.

Because vaping doesn’t involve burning tobacco, it’s generally thought to be less toxic than smoking traditional cigarettes, although it’s not risk-free. Here are some things to think about:

Health Risks: Because of the chemicals in e-liquids and the possibility of lung injury from inhaling the vapor, vaping can still be harmful to one’s health. Long-term health implications are still unclear, but it’s thought to be less dangerous than smoking.

Addiction to Nicotine: Nicotine is a very addictive ingredient included in many vaping liquids. When attempting to stop, this may result in dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Popularity Among Youth: The rising popularity of vaping among youth has sparked worries about nicotine addiction and the possibility that it could be used as a gateway to regular cigarette smoking.

According to data from the Philippine Pediatric Society, 11% of students in the country between the ages of 10 and 15 have already tried vaping. The trend is being driven by misconceptions about safety (17%), online accessibility (32%), a wide variety of delicious flavors (22%), and 11 percent of students have already tried vaping.

In conclusion, vaping carries some dangers even if it might not be as dangerous as smoking regular cigarettes. It’s critical that people thinking about vaping as a substitute understand these dangers and make wise health-related decisions. In addition, there are tools and other approaches that might be more long-term successful for smokers who want to stop.

How can you start your smoke-free journey

Smoke cessation can be hard because smoking is more than just a “bad habit” – it’s an addiction. Not only because quitting is a difficult task mentally and emotionally, but it can also be an intense physical ordeal for the body to overcome an addiction to nicotine. Nevertheless, every minute of being smoke-free is a success for a better health. 

According to the American Heart Association and the U.S. Surgeon General, here’s how your body begins to recover once you quit smoking:

  • Within the first 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate start to drop from the spikes caused by nicotine.
  • After a few days, the levels of carbon monoxide in your blood return to normal.
  • Within two weeks, your circulation and lung function start to improve.
  • From one to 12 months, you’ll notice clearer and deeper breathing, less coughing, and reduced shortness of breath. You’ll also regain the ability to cough productively, which helps clean your lungs and lowers your risk of infection.
  • After three to six years, your risk of coronary heart disease decreases by 50%.
  • Between five to 10 years, your risk of cancers in the mouth, throat, and voice box is halved, and your risk of stroke also declines.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer drops by 50%, along with reduced risks of cancers in the bladder, esophagus, and kidneys.
  • After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease becomes almost the same as someone who has never smoked.

Smoking Cessation

At the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, the smoking cessation program is designed to provide comprehensive support for individuals seeking to quit smoking and improve their overall health. Through personalized counseling, medication assistance, and behavioral therapy, participants are guided in understanding their smoking habits, managing cravings, and developing coping strategies. Educational resources and ongoing support help individuals navigate the challenges of quitting smoking, while follow-up appointments ensure progress is monitored and additional assistance is provided as needed. By empowering individuals with the tools and support they need to quit smoking, the program aims to promote healthier lifestyles and reduce the risk of tobacco-related illnesses. Talk to our experts in smoking cessation today. To know more about our Smoking Cessation services, you may contact Asian Hospital’s Infohub team at (02) 8771 9000 local 5913 or send them an email at


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