How Smoking Affects the Heart and Lungs

Published at 16 January, 2018 00:00.

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The Smokefree Health Harms campaign is back for its sixth year, and we’re onto our second week of research into the effects of smoking. The campaign is successfully raising awareness of smoking effects and exploring how you’re putting yourself at risk by picking up each cigarette through web and TV ads.

We’re doing our bit to raise awareness by investigating the effects of smoking in different parts of the body. Each week for 4 weeks we’ll cover different areas of the body and how smoking can have a dramatic impact on these parts. This week – the Heart and Lungs, and how quitting can reduce the risk of heart attack and lung cancer.


Last week, we couldn’t stress enough that smoking damages your blood circulation, increasing the risk of a number of conditions. Carbon monoxide from the smoke of your cigarette and nicotine both put a huge strain on the heart. It has to work faster and also increases the risk of blood clots. Other chemicals in the smoke of a cigarette damage the lining of your coronary arteries, leading to further problems.

In fact, smoking doubles your risk of having a heart attack and you have twice the risk of dying from coronary heart disease than if you had never smoked in your life. However, there is good news if you stop smoking. After only one year of not smoking, your risk of heart problems is reduced by half. After stopping with the cigarettes for 15 years, you risk will be very similar to that of a lifetime non-smoker.


It goes without saying that smoking has a huge impact on your lungs and will most definitely hinder your breathing. Smoking increases the amount of coughs and colds, and wheezing and asthma will become more apparent.

Those cigarettes can cause numerous fatal diseases, such as pneumonia and lung cancer, and it causes 84% of deaths from lung cancer alone. Progressive and debilitating disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a collection of lung diseases, where people suffering from it have difficulties breathing. This is primarily due to the narrowing of the airways and the destruction of lung tissue.

Some people describe the symptoms of this as a ‘smokers cough’ but if the condition worsens, it can have detrimental effects of the persons health and quality of life. Stopping smoking altogether is the only effective way to slow the progression of the disease.

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