Quitting Smoking & Heart Disease
You may have heard that smoking can cause lung cancer.
Fewer people know about the link between smoking and heart disease.
Smokers can have over twice the risk of heart disease compared to non-smokers.
Fortunately, quitting smoking leads to a dramatically lower risk of heart disease almost immediately.
Reduction of Heart Disease Risk with Smoking Cessation
A new paper followed nearly 9000 patients over 25 years in the Framingham Heart Study, which is one of the most comprehensive studies of heart disease and lifestyle.
They found that those who quit smoking have a 40% lower risk of heart disease.
Quitting smoking reduces heart disease risk almost immediately
Researchers use statistical modeling to see how this risk varies over time. The risk declines dramatically over the first five years and continues to decrease through 25 years.
By around 10 years after you quit smoking, researchers estimate that your risk of heart disease will be around half of that of a heavy smoker.
Heart Disease Risk in Former Smoker vs Never Smokers
As expected, those who quit smoking still have some residual excess risk of heart disease. However, this residual risk declines rapidly. By years 10-15, researchers estimated that there was no remaining statistically significant residual risk of smoking.
Why Smoking Matters
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Researchers estimate that it is responsible for nearly 500,000 deaths per year.
According to the CDC, smoking is responsible for more deaths than HIV, car accidents, drug overdoses, and alcohol combined.
These deaths often come in the form of heart disease and cancer.
If you are a current smoker, consider quitting. This is probably the best thing that you can do for your health.
But, you shouldn’t do it alone. Finding friends, support groups, and family members to help you on your journey can increase your odds of success.
There are also some medications that are effective in helping people quit smoking.
Talk to your doctor about how you can quit smoking and get started on this journey. Your future self will be grateful.