Nicotine and heart disease

Updated June 13, 2017

Cardiovascular problems

Smoking can cause a number of cardiovascular problems and heart diseases. Smoking increases the risk of suffering from a stroke, heart attack, aneurysm and diseases of the vascular system (blood vessels). Cardiovascular disease is the cause of about 110,000 deaths in the U.K. every year, according to the NHS. People who smoke are at a 2 to 4 times greater risk of developing coronary heart disease as compared to people who don't smoke.

Demands on the heart

Smoking does more than cause lung cancer - it's a major risk factor for heart disease as well. It contains the potent and harmful chemical nicotine, which has a major impact on the heart and blood vessels. Nicotine makes the blood vessels narrow, says the Mayo Clinic, which makes the heart have to pump harder to circulate blood. When the demands on your heart increase, blood pressure and heart rate can increase, and increase the risk of heart disease.


Nicotine and the other harmful chemicals in cigarettes can also cause damage to the blood vessels. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is a major risk factor for heart disease and heart attack. Nicotine can lead to atherosclerosis, blood vessel damage and heart disease.

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About the Author

Diana Rodriguez is a Louisville, Kentucky-based full-time freelance writer who specializes in health and real-estate writing. Since 2008 her numerous articles have appeared on various news and health websites. She also specializes in custom Web content for a variety of businesses. She has degrees in journalism and French from Miami University of Ohio.