Smoking: Its Effects On Heart And Health


It is undisputedly true that smoking is highly injurious to health. Smoking is one of the preventable causes of death. More than 430,000 people die due to diseases caused by smoking. Despite these facts, more than 50 million people including 3 million teenagers continue to smoke. As a rough estimate over 3000 teenagers begin to smoke each day.

Effects of smoking

Although the negative health effects of cigarette smoking cannot be debated, it remains the single most common cause of preventable deaths. Each year, over 430,000 people die as a result of a smoking related disease. Yet, over 50 million continue to smoke, including over 3 million teens. An estimated three thousand teenagers begin to smoke each day, and one thousand of them will eventually die as a result. According to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoking leads to 87% of lung cancers, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Healthcare and lost productivity costs of $97.2 billion dollars per years arise from smoking related illnesses. Cigarettes contain over 19 known cancer-causing chemicals in addition to nicotine.

It is common belief that cigarette smoking causes only breathing problems, and lung cancer. But one major health risk for men and women due to smoking is also heart disease. Smoking accelerates the process of atherosclerosis (a condition in which cholesterol deposits in combination with other conditions of inflammation cause narrowing of arteries including the coronary arteries-- arteries which supply blood to the heart). About 1 out of 5 deaths from heart disease in the U.S. are directly related to smoking.

There is a direct correlation between a smokerís volume of smoking (the no. of cigarettes or beedies -- Indian desi cigarettes-- he or she smokes per day) and risk of heart disease and heart attack. Also this risk rises with the duration of smoking in the life time. One packet of cigarette smoked per day causes the risk of heart attack to double. For example, suppose a population X has zero smokers and another population Y has 100 percent smokers. Suppose each person in the Y population smokes 1 pack of cigarettes per day for a given length of time. If the death rate due to heart attack in X population is say N deaths per million, then the death rate due to heart attack in Y population will be 2N deaths per million. In this example, it is assumed that all other factors like diet, nutrition, exercise, race, habits, physical activity, lifestyle are the same or almost the same.