Tobacco has several harmful effects on your heart:
- It causes inflammation of the arteries, which can lead to lesions;
- It causes arterial spasms, which prevents proper blood flow;
- It increases arterial blood pressure;
- It decreases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol);
- It increases coagulation which increases the risk of blood clot formation.
You should also know that…
- A smoker has 2 to 3 times the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as compared to a non-smoker;
- Tobacco is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Europe;
- Tobacco increases your risk of developing chronic lung disease which can seriously affect your quality of life;
- Non-smokers who live and work with smokers also have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease;
- In women, the combination of oral contraceptives and cigarette smoking severely increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly after the age of 35.
The benefits to quitting smoking are important and immediate:
- Improvement of breathing;
- 50% decrease of risk of cardiovascular disease after 1 year;
- Decrease of the risk of stroke;
- Increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
Quitting smoking is never easy. There are several methods that can help you. It is up to you to choose the best one for you: nicotine patches, nicotine chewing gum, oral medication, specialized clinics. You can discuss this with your cardiologist, your nurse, your primary care or general practitioner, or your pharmacist. Specialized consultations to help you with your plans are available in most European countries. Furthermore you can join support groups with other smokers who have decided to quit.
To begin, you must first identify what ties you to cigarette smoking…
- A bad habit?
- A need or a physical addiction?
- An emotional support?
- A way to stay calm and relax?
- A way to define yourself?
- A social behavior?
This short exercise can help you to understand your smoking habits. You have to change the routine associated with cigarette smoking: go for a walk during break times or at dinner time, leave the table after the meal, avoid smoking areas and situations that make you want to smoke, treat yourself with the money you will save…
There is no miracle solution. You have to set objectives for yourself and persevere…
Download the practical health advice pamphlet I want to quit smoking