Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer, but 20 - 30% of all deaths from heart disease in the U.S. are directly related to cigarette smoking, according to WebMD.Among other things, the nicotine present in smoke causes:
WebMD explains that a person's risk of heart attack greatly increases with the number of cigarettes he or she smokes. Smokers continue to increase their risk of heart attack the longer they smoke as well. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have more than twice the risk of heart attack than non-smokers. Women who smoke and also take birth control pills increase several times their risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Cigarette smoke also affects the people around you, who are also at risk for developing health problems, especially children. Environmental tobacco smoke (also called passive smoke or secondhand smoke) can cause chronic respiratory conditions, cancer, and heart disease. It is estimated that around 35,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease each year as a result of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.Quitting smoking can also be helpful in: