A young man was admitted for chest pain. He underwent several investigations which showed early signs of coronary artery disease.
Upon discharge, the doctor asks “What is the most important thing you can do to stop future heart attacks?”
“Rest!” – he said with confidence.
“NO! QUIT SMOKING!”
This abstract Daily Doodle illustrates the harmful effects of smoking on the heart. The ribbons of smoke wrap around the heart, squeezing it, causing it to fracture… to infarct. Toxins drip from the cigarette, coating the heart, turning it black in color.
“Compared with nonsmokers, cigarette smokers are 60% more likely to develop atherosclerotic coronary artery disease when other risk factors are controlled for statistically. Smoking increases carbon monoxide levels in the blood, which may, in turn, damage the coronary endothelium. Smoking also increases platelet adhesiveness and thus the likelihood of thrombotic coronary occlusion.”
Why quit? Smoking is a leading preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. According to an article on uptodate “The cardiac risks associated with cigarette smoking diminish relatively soon after smoking cessation and continue to fall with increasing length of time since quitting.” 
Other Cardiac Risk Factors include:
Major Risk Factors:
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Cigarette smoking
- Dyslipidemia (high LDL, low HDL…)
- Age: Men > 45 years, Women > 55 years
- Family History of premature coronary artery disease or myocardial infarction in first degree relative
Minor: obesity, sedentary lifestyle, stress, excess alcohol
For anyone interested in quitting smoking, you do not have to do it alone! Your family doctor is there to support you and to help you find a smoking cessation method that is best for you. From meditation to medication, there are many different options to choose from. Also, your community may offer different support groups or services – just ask your doctor about what is available near you.
- S. Wolfsthal. “Cardiovascular Diseases” NMS Medicine. Seventh Edition. Lippincott williams and Wilkins. 2012.
- E. Jackson, M. Rubenfire. “Cardiovascular risk of smoking and benefits of smoking cessation” Uptodate. 2014. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/cardiovascular-risk-of-smoking-and-benefits-of-smoking-cessation
“Cardiac Risk Factors” Daily Doodle by Michiko Maruyama