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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tobacco Products

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Be Heart Healthy

 

February 10, 2012

 

February is American Heart Month.  Celebrate this year by taking care of your heart and living smoke free!  It’s a great time to quit smoking and to encourage loved ones to quit too. 
 
Two candy Valentine hearts showing two messages: one saying be mine and the other saying be smoke free.Take the time today to learn how smoking affects your heart, your health, and the health of those around you! For example, did you know that:
 

  • When you are around smoke, the cells in your body react to the poisons in the smoke almost immediately.  Your heart rate and your blood pressure actually go up.
     
  • Chemicals from tobacco smoke also make your blood more likely to clot—which can cause blood blockages to your heart.
     
  • Smoking also causes plaque to build inside your arteries—this can trigger chest pain, heart attacks and strokes.
     
Quitting Smoking Saves Lives

More than 1,200 people a day are killed by cigarettes in the United States alone. Smoking is the cause of death for nearly one out of every five people in the United States, which is more than 440,000 deaths annually.

Smoking causes coronary heart disease and strokes, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.  Cigarette smokers are 2–4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.  Even secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults.

Quitting at any age and at any time is beneficial. It's never too late to quit, but the sooner the better. Quitting gives your body a chance to heal the damage caused by smoking. When smokers quit, the risk for a heart attack drops sharply after just 1 year; stroke risk can fall to about the same as a nonsmoker’s after 2-5 years; risks for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half after 5 years; and the risk for dying of lung cancer drops by half after 10 years.


Heart Healthy Tips

Please consider these heart health benefits of living smoke free and:

  • If you smoke, commit to be smoke free.
  • Encourage and support your friends and loved ones
  • Use the resources below to set a quit date and quit.

Join the Millions who Live Smoke Free

While quitting smoking can be difficult, you can increase your chance of success with help. Please visit our federal partners’ quitting resources for free, evidence-based information and support:

 

View all past FDA Tobacco feature articles here

Posted February 10, 2012