How Smoking Affects Circulation and Brain

Published at 15 January, 2018 00:00.

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The Smokefree Health Harms campaign is now in its sixth year - the aim being to raise awareness of the effects of smoking and how you’re putting yourself at risk every day, one cigarette at a time. The campaign was launched again at the end of December in time for the New Year, featuring a new TV ad, highlighting the effect of the poisons entering your bloodstream.


For 4 weeks, we’ll be investigating the effects of smoking in different parts of the body. Each week, we’ll go into detail about certain areas, and how you really will benefit from kicking the habit. This week – Circulation and the Brain, and how quitting those cigarettes will reduce the chances of having a stroke.


The effects of smoking on the brain and your circulation are frightening. From the first puff of smoke you inhale, the poisons from the tar enter your blood stream and begin to make changes. These changes are never good, and soon become a cause for concern.

The poisons you’ve inhaled begin to thicken your blood, and in turn, increase the chances of a clot formation. This will also increase your blood pressure and heart rate, which will make your heart work faster than normal. As well as changes in blood, the tar from each cigarette will slowly narrow your arteries and will reduce the amount of oxygen-rich blood circulating to your organs.

Combining the effects to circulation can be a big problem. All major organs in the body, such as the brain and heart, muscles and body tissue all rely on a good blood circulation to receive what it needs. A lack of this may eventually cause a heart attack or stroke.


It’s clear – if you’re a smoker, you’re more likely to have a stroke than someone who doesn’t smoke. In fact, if you do smoke, this increases your risk of having a stroke by at least 50%. This is a dangerous percentage and by having those cigarettes each day, you’re actually doubling the risk of dying from a stroke.

Developing a brain aneurysm is one of the many ways in which smoking increases your risk of stroke. An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel, which is caused by a weakness in the wall of the blood vessel itself. If this ruptures or bursts, it can lead to a type of stroke call a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which can cause extensive brain damage and even death.

If you do stop smoking however, there is good news. Within two years of kicking the habit, your risk of stroke is reduced to half of that of a non-smoker and within five years, it will be the same as a non-smoker. Do the right thing for your health and give that next cigarette a second thought.

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