Smoking and its effects on lung health receive much attention and for good reason. Smoking is very harmful to the lungs. The harm smoking does to heart health has less attention drawn to it. Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer of Americans every year, and smoking contributes to that. Below we’ll discuss some benefits that can come with quitting smoking.

Quitting smoking helps improve blood pressure. Smoking will raise your blood pressure temporarily, thus causing your heart to work harder and put stress on itself. It also thickens your blood making it harder to pump. Just 20 minutes after you put down a cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. In just a few weeks you’ll see improvements in blood flow.

Smoking damages your blood vessels. It causes plaque to build up and nicotine itself causes the blood vessels to narrow. This causes your heart to have to work faster and harder to pump blood effectively. This extra work is not good for it. In fact, just a year without cigarettes cuts down your risk of heart disease by half and by the five-year mark your risk is basically the same as a person who’s never smoked.

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