Heart attack recovery – quit smoking
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Get the facts on quitting and how it can help you recover.

Key takeaways

  • Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease.  
  • If you already have heart disease, you’re at greater risk from exposure to second-hand smoke than people who don't. 
  • There are many different ways to quit smoking.  
  • Get support to help you stop smoking. 
  • You’ll feel the benefits of quitting almost straight away. 
Quitting smoking can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do. 

As smoking is addictive, giving it up might take time. It can be hard as your body is dependent on nicotine. However, it’s important to remember that many people have successfully quit smoking, so you can too. 
If you’re recovering from a heart attack, quitting smoking can reduce your risk of another one. 

Smoking and your heart

Smoking affects the vessels that supply blood to your heart and other parts of your body.  

It reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and damages blood vessel walls. 

Smoking contributes to atherosclerosis, which occurs when there’s narrowing and clogging of the arteries. This reduces blood supply and the amount of available oxygen throughout the body.  

Smoking and heart disease

Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the other parts of the body. Smoking increases the stiffness of the arteries, making it harder for them to expand and contract as needed, making them more likely to split. These changes to the arteries can cause a heart attack, stroke or angina

Smokers not only have more heart attacks, strokes and angina than non-smokers, but also at a much younger age. 

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. When combined with other risk factors, smoking further raises the risk of heart disease. 

Other risk factors include: 

  • Unhealthy blood cholesterol levels 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Being overweight or obese. 
Take the first steps to quit and call the Quitline on 13 7848, or visit the  Quit website to get started.


Get started

You might also be interested in

5 warning signs of a heart attack that you may not know

5 warning signs of a heart attack that you may not know

5 warning signs of a heart attack that you may not know

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

Alcohol action plan

Alcohol action plan

Heart health information in your language

Heart health information in your language

A selection of heart health information brochures in a range languages...

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Your role as a carer for a heart attack patient is an important one – explore some useful things to know....

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

Pauline is a nurse and shares advice for young people who have had a heart event or are recovering from surgery....

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

Blood pressure action plan

Blood pressure action plan

Key steps that can help you manage your blood pressure....

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions....

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Register your cardiac service with the Heart Foundation

Register your cardiac service with the Heart Foundation

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

Should population-based CVD risk assessment models make way for individualised risk prediction techniques?...

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

Cooking at home is often healthier than eating out....

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

The program works with local communities to help improve heart health in the Pilbara....

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

Heart-healthy drinks

While water is clearly the most heart-healthy drink, there are ther drinks that can be enjoyed in moderation. ...

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Heart attack recovery – quit smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Get the facts on quitting and how it can help you recover. ...

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Discover key information on heart-healthy eating and drinking....

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson

Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson

Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson

An education program to promote self-care for people living with atrial fibrillation (INFORM-AF)...

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Identifying microvascular dysfunction as a novel mechanism of poor health in heart failure patients....

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

Key Statistics: Heart attack

Key Statistics: Heart attack

Statistics and information on heart attack in Australia...

Get your family moving

Get your family moving

Get your family moving

Get your kids active and set them up for healthier habits into adulthood....

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Resources to help you create a more physically active workplace....

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Heart attack recovery – your first month

Explore the Heart Foundation’s guide on what to expect in the first month after your heart attack. ...

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

Taking your medicines

There are many medicines that treat heart attack, angina, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other heart conditions....

Healthy chicken fajitas

Healthy chicken fajitas

20 minutes
Serves 4

Workplace giving program

Workplace giving program

Workplace giving program

Workplace giving is a simple and tax effective way for employees to make regular donations to a cause they care about. ...

Kid-friendly lentil stew

Kid-friendly lentil stew

30 minutes
Serves 4

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

Blood pressure monitoring at home using a 24-hour blood pressure monitor test....