Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death in Australia. Approximately 40% of women who smoke die due to heart disease, stroke or blood vessel disease. Smokers have 2-4 times greater risk of developing heart disease compared to non-smokers.

Women who smoke and also take the contraceptive pill have a 10 times higher risk of having a heart attack.

What does smoking to do to your heart?

  • Causes the artery walls to narrow due to the build-up of fatty materials, increasing the risk of clots forming which can lead to a heart attack or stroke
  • Raises your blood pressure and speeds up your heart heart rate
  • Deprives the heart, brain and arteries of oxygen supply meaning your heart has to pump harder to supply the body with the oxygen it needs  
  • Decreases tolerance to HDL (good) cholesterol.

Short and long-term effects of smoking:

Short term:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms
  • Respiratory infection
  • Harm to pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Impotence

Long term:

  • Lung cancer
  • Cancers of the colon, mouth, throat, bladder, and cervix
  • Emphysema and bronchitis
  • Smoker’s cough
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Complications during pregnancy that can lead to an underweight baby or premature death in infancy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Digestive problems
  • Gum disease

Did you know?

Passive smoking (exposure to the cigarette smoke of others) increases the the risk of developing heart disease by 25-40%.  

Giving up

When you give up smoking, the harmful effects caused by this deadly habit can be reversed very quickly. For more information on why and how to quit please see the lifestyle section of our website.

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