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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

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