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How Smoking Affects Heart Health

  • Category: Cardiology
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: St. John's Health
How Smoking Affects Heart Health

Smoking and Your Cardiovascular Health

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, accounting for about 800,000 deaths each year. Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco products is a habit responsible for nearly 20% of those deaths.


While many people know that smoking and using tobacco products can harm your health, you may not understand the extent of the damage it can cause. The health experts at St. John's are here to outline some of the many ways that smoking and using tobacco products can harm your heart.

Smoking Increases Your Risk for Heart Disease


When you smoke, you’re actually changing the makeup of your blood and cause plaque to build up in your arteries. This plaque buildup can lead to the narrowing of your arteries, which is called atherosclerosis.


When your arteries become narrowed, it's harder for your heart to pump oxygenated blood to other areas of your body. It can also create total blockages, leading to cardiac events like heart attack and stroke.

Increased Stress on the Heart

When you smoke cigarettes and use tobacco products, there is increased strain placed on your heart when it comes to pumping blood throughout your body. When you inhale cigarette smoke, you’re inhaling carbon monoxide—which continues to lower your oxygen levels, making your heart work harder to deliver oxygen where it’s needed.

Changes to Your Blood

Smoking cigarettes actually changes your blood and makes it become thicker and even sticky. Thicker and stickier blood is more difficult for your heart to pump throughout your body. It is also more prone to clotting, blocking blood flow and increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Cardiology Services in Jackson, Wilson, and Teton County

From echocardiograms to cardiac rehabilitation, St. John’s Cardiology provides full-time local care for patients in Jackson and the surrounding areas. Our team works with your primary care provider to treat and manage your heart condition.