Smoking is estimated to cause nearly 10 per cent of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure.1 The impact of tobacco smoke is not confined solely to smokers. Nearly 6 million people die from tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke, accounting for 6 per cent of female and 12 per cent of male deaths worldwide, every year. By 2030 tobacco-related deaths are projected to increase to more than 8 million deaths a year.1 Smoking is, however, avoidable and advancing a tobacco-free world is a key strategic priority for the World Heart Federation.
Tobacco acts in a number of ways to cause CVD. Its use, whether by smoking or chewing, damages blood vessels, temporarily raises blood pressure and lowers exercise tolerance. Moreover, tobacco decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Blood clots can form in arteries causing a range of heart diseases that ultimately result in a stroke or sudden death.
1Global Atlas on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control. Mendis S, Puska P, Norrving B editors. World Health Organization (in collaboration with the World Heart Federation and World Stroke Organization), Geneva 2011
2Huxley R, Woodward M. Cigarette smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in women compared with men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Lancet. 2011;378(9799): 1297–1300.
3Vollset SE, Tverdal A, Gjessing HK. Smoking and deaths between 40 and 70 years of age in women and men. Ann Intern Med. 2006;144(6):381–389.
4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2010. Smoking & tobacco use – Health effects of cigarette smoking. [Online]. Available at: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm [Accessed March 2012].
5International Tobacco Control Project. Cardiovascular harms from tobacco use and secondhand smoke: Global Gaps in Awareness and Implications for Action. World Heart Federation 2012.
6Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2009. Secondhand smoke exposure and cardiovascular effects: Making sense of the evidence. [Pdf]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25032340 [Accessed March 2012].
7Global Smokefree Partnership. Warning: Secondhand Smoke is Hazardous to Your Heart. 2010.
8World Health Organization, 2010. Fact sheet No. 339 – Tobacco. [Online]. Available at: www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/index.html [Accessed March 2012].
9U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , 2006. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.
10Öberg M, et al, Global estimate of the burden of disease from second-hand smoke. Lancet. 2010; EPub.
11World Health organization Report on the Global tobacco epidemic, 2011, p 43.
12UCBerkeley News, 4 Sept 2005. Researchers find that passive smoking kills as many women as active smoking in China. [Online]. Available at: berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/09/04_smoking.shtml [Accessed March 2012].
13Irish Heart Foundation. Stopping Smoking. [Online]. Available at: www.irishheart.ie/iopen24/stopping-smoking-t-84.html [Accessed March 2012].
14National Health Service UK. Quit smoking to boost health. [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/smoking/Pages/Boost%20health.aspx [Accessed March 2012].
15Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2004 Surgeon General’s Report. The Health Consequences of Smoking: What it means to you. [Pdf]. Available at: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2004/pdfs/whatitmeanstoyou.pdf [Accessed March 2012].
16Taylor DH Jr, Hasselblad V, Henley SJ, Thun MJ, Sloan FA. Benefits of smoking cessation for longevity. Am J Public Health. 2002;92(6):990–996.
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