Connecting the Dots Between; Smoking, Stroke, and Heart Disease

Smoking and Stroke
Smoking and Stroke

Smoking is responsible for approximately 15% of all deaths in Canada caused by cardiovascular event and stroke (Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2016). In 2002, the total number of Canadians who died from heart disease and stroke was a staggering 10,853, this is a direct relation to the use of tobacco and exposure to second-hand smoke (Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2016).

Smoking has catastrophic effects on the human body and unfortunately these effects are extended to the individuals around those smoking such as second-hand smoke. For middle-aged men and woman smoking will triple the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke (Heart and Stroke, 2016). These statistics are staggering, being three times more likely to die from heart disease or stroke should affect the way smoking is viewed. Damage to the brain or heart tissue is often irreversible and can lead to permanent disability or death. Unfortunately changing modifiable risk factors such as smoking usually will not occur until after the individual has experienced a traumatic event, like a stroke or heart attack.

Primary prevention is the key to decreasing the number deaths related to stroke and heart disease. Time is essential to an individual who smokes, the sooner the individual quit smoking it drastically decreases their chances of experiencing a traumatic event.  There are tremendous benefits to quitting smoking aside from decreasing your chances of stroke and heart disease, they are;

  • Financially, as the average smoker has 13 cigarettes a day, which equals to 364 cigarettes a month which is approximately $207.00 per month or $2491.00 per year
  • The sense of taste will return allowing food to become more enjoyable
  • Breathing and general fitness will improve
  • The appearance of teeth will improve
  • Decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke by approximately half compare with a person who is still smoking after just 1 year
  • The risk of heart attack and stroke becomes the same as someone who has never smoked after 15 years
  • Not smoking with add more than two years to your life
  • Drastically reduces the chances of children exposed to second- hand smoke from suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, meningitis and ear infections

The substantial risk to the individual who smokes of suffering from a stroke or cardiovascular event and with all the obvious benefits of quitting smoking, why aren’t we seeing more people kicking the habit?

Parents who smoke drastically put their children at risk for becoming addicted to tobacco, the average age a smoker starts smoking regularly is at 18 years old. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. All exposure to tobacco, even if it is just an occasional cigarette or exposure to second-hand smoke is harmful. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it’s worth all the effort it will take. Quitting smoking provides the ability to change and improve one’s quality of life.


Heart and Stroke: Statistics (2016). Retrieved from:


Smoke free NHS. Retrieved from:

What happens when you quit.


Publishing this article in no way serves as an endorsement from NWO Regional Stroke Network. The NWO Regional Stroke Network does not verify the veracity of information in this item and any views expressed are of the author(s) alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of NWO Regional Stroke Network​