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Heart Disease and Stroke

  • Cigarette smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smokers are 2–4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
  • Cigarette smoking approximately doubles a person's risk for stroke.
  • Cigarette smoking causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries). People who smoke have a much greater risk of developing peripheral vascular disease than nonsmokers.
  • Smoking causes abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Flash

Effects of Secondhand Smoke on the Cardiovascular System

Short flash animation that shows how secondhand smoke damages the cardiovascular system.

  • Secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults.
  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25–30% and their lung cancer risk by 20–30%.
  • Breathing secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the cardiovascular system that can increase the risk of heart attack. People who already have heart disease are at especially high risk.

Related Materials

Report

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Media Statement

Highlights from the 2004 Surgeon General's Report

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