Smoking and Cardiovascular Health


Smoking continues to be the leading preventative cause of death in the world and a known cause of heart disease. Half of all smokers die from smoking-related diseases and you’re more likely to be vulnerable to complications if you contract COVID-19.

At Alphega, we want to make stopping smoking as easy as possible. Your local Alphega Pharmacist will help you to find a solution that works for you and encourage you at every step of journey to become a non-smoker.  

Why should I stop smoking?

Smoking as a cause of respiratory diseases such as lung cancer and bronchitis is well understood and well known. With today’s current health crisis it makes even more sense to stop smoking to ensure you’re in the best of health. The links between smoking and respiratory diseases are easy to see; tobacco smoke is inhaled through our throat into our lungs, so it makes sense that smoke damages those parts of our body. However, tobacco smoke’s effects on our blood and heart are less obvious, but no less important.

How does smoking cause heart disease?

Just like the oxygen that we need to live, thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke are absorbed into our bloodstream through our lungs. But when these chemicals – such as nicotine, carbon monoxide and TSNAs – are pumped around our cardiovascular systems by our heart, they cause severe health risks. These damaging chemicals are also absorbed when using smokeless tobacco (chewing or inhaled) so these should never be viewed as healthy alternatives to smoking.

The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke latches on to the red blood cells in our blood stream and stops them from carrying oxygen around the body. This can not only make us more unfit, but means our heart gets less oxygen. This then leads to the many heart problems directly linked to smoking.


What cardiovascular diseases can smoking cause?

Just one cigarette a day raises your risk of heart disease. Smokers are at greater risk of heart attacks, stroke, sudden death and many other diseases that are related to poor cardiovascular health. Other health risks related to smoking include angina, aneurisms, blood clots, high blood pressure and kidney failure among others.

It’s easy to see why stopping smoking is a quick way to improve your health and wellbeing, and your Alphega Pharmacist can help your make that first step to a healthier lifestyle.

How will quitting smoking help my heart?

As well as carrying severe health risks of long-term illnesses, smoking’s effects on the heart and blood can also impact your daily lives. Did you know that someone who smokes finds cuts and bruises heal more slowly? This is because carbon monoxide reduces levels of oxygen in the blood. A smokers’ blood also cannot carry as much oxygen around the body, causing fatigue, difficulty exercising and a high heart rate. Poor cardiovascular health from smoking is also a leading cause of erectile dysfunction.

But the good news is that damage from smoking isn’t irreversible. Once you quit smoking, you begin to see immediate health benefits that get better over time. After just 20 minutes of quitting, your pulse rate returns to normal. After two days, your body eliminates the carbon monoxide in your blood allowing more oxygen into your system. After one year, your excess risk of a heart attack is halved, and after 15 years your risk is the same as someone who has never smoked.

How can I quit?

If you or anyone you know is looking for advice over quitting smoking, the experts at your local Alphega Pharmacy are waiting to help. Your pharmacist knows the best aids to help you stop and that will suit your lifestyle - all available from Alphega Pharmacy. Your pharmacist also knows the best diet and lifestyle tips to help you stay on track. Find your local Alphega Pharmacy here