Within hours of smoking your last cigarette your heart rate and blood pressure will drop back to their normal range. According to the University of Maryland’s Professor of Cardiovascular  Medicine, Michael Miller, if you stay cigarette free for 12 months you reduce your risk of a heart attack by over 50%. You will also halve your risk of being hospitalized  because of heart-related problems. The fact that these benefits can be seen within hours of quitting let alone months, years and decades, shows how much you can help your heart health by just giving up smoking.

Risks Smoking Poses to Your Heart’s Health

There is a reason why numerous studies have put smoking as the number one bad habit to quit for better heart health. It is estimated that smoking will kill 10 million people by 2030. Here’s a few of the reasons why:

  • Cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals including 43 known carcinogens and 400 other toxins including formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and arsenic.

  • Smoking narrows your arteries.

  • It causes fatty material known as atheroma to build up in your arteries and plaque on your hearts and those of your children.

  • Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.

  • Nicotine stimulates the production of adrenaline which induces your heart to beat faster and raise blood pressure.

  • Smoking increases blood clotting which in turn raises the chances of a heart attack or stroke.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking Now

As noted in the introduction, quitting smoking can have instantaneous results for your heart as well as long-term benefits. It will:

  • Reduce your blood pressure and heart rate to normal

  • Increase the amount of oxygen in your blood

  • Reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis, blood clots, fatal heart attacks, sudden cardiovascular failure, and other chronic diseases

  • Improved circulation and increased energy

How You Quit is not so Important

Yes, some methods are better for your heart than others. However, the most important thing is that you quit as soon as you are able to and that you do not go back. Obviously if you are able to quit smoking right away, do it. However, if you need to slowly reduce the number you have per day that will help in the long run because you are also slowly reducing the poisons you pour into your body. A better alternative would be an e-cigarette or vaping device which will give you the nicotine but has fewer toxins and carcinogens. However, never forget, for better heart health, you need to stop altogether in the end.

Jessica Walter is a freelance writer.

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