Smoking, Heart Disease and Stroke

Smoking and / or exposure to second-hand smoke have several negative health effects that increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Smoking contributes to the accumulation of plaques in your arteries, increases the risk of blood clots, reduces the oxygen supply in the blood, increases your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder. Smoking almost doubles the risk of ischemic stroke.

Did you know?

Living smoke-free has important benefits for your health and for those around you. More than 47,000 Canadians die prematurely from smoking every year, and nearly 8,000 non-smokers die from exposure to second-hand smoke.

The good news

Once you stop smoking and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke, you immediately reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. The sooner you stop smoking, the sooner your body starts to recover and the benefits will be visible in no time.

  • In less than 48 hours, your chances of having a heart attack begin to diminish and your sense of smell will begin to improve.
  • In less than a year, your chances of suffering from a heart attack related to smoking are halved.
  • In less than 15 years, your chances of having a heart attack are about the same as if you had never smoked.

How to quit smoking

If you've been thinking about quitting for some time, you've already taken an important step that brings you closer to your goal. However, getting rid of a habit steadfast in itself for many years (for some) is not easy. That's why we're here to help you with advice, questionnaires and other tools. We will also help you with the resources needed to start a smoke-free life.

Tips for Quitting

  • Determine Which Triggers- Try to understand under what circumstances you tend to smoke. Is it when you have a coffee or a drink with friends, or when you are stressed? Identifying these triggers is the most important step to quitting smoking.> [LINK TO WAYS TEST FOR NICOTINE DEPENDENCE TBD] ->
  • Breaking the Link to Break the Habit - Once your triggers are identified, you will be more able to break the link between smoking and your routine activities. So, when you feel the urge to smoke, stop and ask yourself if you really need this cigarette or if you can wait and do something else. Try to delay this cigarette by keeping your hands busy, drinking water, brushing your teeth, crunching sticks of carrot or celery. Another way not to give in to the temptation to smoke is to take a walk.
  • Set a date to quit - If you are ready to quit, set a date, write it down and tell a family member or friend that you have decided to quit.
  • Make your home and car vote smoke-free environments - The more you make the cigarette inaccessible for you and for others, the less you will smoke. Limit the occasions when you usually smoke and you will gradually reduce the number of cigarettes you consume per day. Your dependence will only be weakened.
  • Ask for help- It is sometimes difficult to quit, so do not be afraid to ask for help and support for your family, friends and doctor.

For information about smoking cessation, call the Canadian Cancer Society Smokers' Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or visit the Canadian Cancer Society Helpline for smokers  online.

You can also call Health Canada helplines or visit Health Canada's website and search for "Quit Smoking."

Read the Statement of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Stop Smoking for Good (PDF, 200KB).

For more information, please read the Complete Breathe Fully: Stop Smoking and Live Smoke-Free (PDF, 483KB).

Last revision in December 2009.

 

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