World No Tobacco Day 2018 is here and the theme for this year is 'Tobacco and heart disease', so we asked Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive Officer of Heart Foundation WA, to contribute a special guest blog post about the deadly impact smoking has on heart health.

Many people are not aware that smoking is bad for your heart as well as your lungs. In fact, the risks are greater than you might think - just one cigarette a day can cause significant harm.

Smoking about one cigarette per day damages your heart and arteries, and results in nearly half the risk for heart disease and stroke as smoking a full pack of 20 per day.

The harm to the heart from smoking occurs as blood carries toxic chemicals from around our bodies which:

  • increases heart rate
  • raises blood pressure
  • damages arteries
  • causes blood clots to form more easily because the blood is stickier

What happens next?

The damage to your body can result in a heart attack, angina, heart failure, aneurysm or a stroke (visit the Heart Foundation website for more information on these conditions).

Drawing of cigarette smoke wafting up and creating a divide through a red heart symbol with the words "tobacco breaks hearts" written above the cigarette

Fantastic benefits of quitting

The great news is that when you quit you greatly reduce your risk of these heart conditions.  Only 24 hours after having your last cigarette the heart will start to repair itself and your risk of heart attack will drop. And the benefits keep coming:

  • after 8 hours your blood oxygen level increases and returns to normal
  • in 24 hours your risk of heart attack begins to drop
  • after 1 year your risk of a heart attack or stroke is reduced by half
  • in 5 to 15 years your risk of stroke and coronary heart disease returns to that of people who have never smoked

Want to start now? Visit get started with our free, interactive Quit Planner!

Going smoke-free helps everyone's hearts

Smoke-free environments reduce cardiovascular disease even among non-smokers.  Some-free public places are known to reduce the number of community hospital admissions due to heart attacks from secondhand smoke.  Being in smoke-free places also reduces the number of cigarettes smoked and encourages people to quit smoking.

Make every day World No Tobacco Day to work towards a future free of tobacco and smoking.

Guest Authors
About author:

Other stories you may like

Formula One cars on a race track

Big Tobacco's sneaky grip on Formula One

Is your favourite team driven by them?

Stack emitting clouds of smoke

Is air pollution worse than smoking?

Tl;dr: air pollution and tobacco smoke both cause death and disease, but tobacco causes more of it.

Wooden logs piled in a forest clearing

Tobacco x the environment – a tale of pollution, poison and poverty

Quitting smoking could be the next big thing you do for the environment.

person wearing mask with cigarette poking through a hole where their mouth is

Is COVID-19 a reason to quit smoking?

COVID-19 has hit the WA community… and there has never been a better time to quit!

Free Quit Support

Talk to the Quitline

The Quitline is a confidential telephone advice and information service for people who want to quit smoking.

My QuitBuddy App

The My QuitBuddy App tracks your quitting progress, such as days smoke-free, cigarettes avoided, health gained and dollars saved.

Google Play ButtonApp Store Button
Proven Tips To Quit

Some people think quitting is about willpower, but to quit successfully means being prepared, and understanding your smoking triggers.

Find tips on quitting