Don’t smoke or use tobacco products

Diseases caused by smoking kill more than 440,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the American Heart Association. Smokers, which includes those who use tobacco or vaping products, have a higher risk for a number of diseases, including heart disease.

Facts about smoking and heart disease

  • One out of every 5 smoking-related deaths is caused by heart disease.
  • Women older than 35 who smoke and take birth control pills are at much greater risk for heart disease, stroke, and blood clots.
  • Cigarette smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to get heart disease than nonsmokers.
  • Cigarette smoking doubles a person's risk for stroke.

How does smoking change the heart and blood vessels?


  • Causes an instant and long-term rise in blood pressure
  • Causes an instant and long-term rise in heart rate
  • Reduces blood flow from the heart
  • Reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the body's tissues
  • Raises risk for blood clots
  • Harms blood vessels
  • Reduces blood flow to the brain

The best thing you can do for your heart, and your overall health, is to quit smoking. According to the American Heart Association, stopping smoking reduces the risk for heart disease by half. It also lowers the risk for repeat heart attacks and death by heart disease by half. Research also shows that quitting smoking helps lower the risk for things that can cause a heart attack. These include atherosclerosis, blood clots, and heart rhythm problems.

Here's how to live smoke free:

  • Decide to quit and set a quit date. 
  • If you fail, try again. Successful quitters often tried many times before they were able to quit.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for information about aids lo help you stop smoking, like a nicotine patch or inhaler, medicines, and a counseling or support program.
  • The New Mexico Department of Health is here to help with its “Quit Now NM” program. To learn more, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) or visit


San Juan Regional Heart Center

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