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Tobacco and Cardiovascular Disease

Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

Diet and Cardiovascular Disease


  Tobacco and CVD

In West Virginia:

For every one West Virginian who dies.....

  • in a motor vehicle accident, 8 die from smoking
  • from suicide, 18 die from smoking
  • from homicide, 36 die from smoking
  • in a fire, 100 die from smoking
  • by drowning, over 100 die from smoking (7).
  • West Virginia ranks fifth in smoking prevalence in the nation. Almost 27% of the state’s population smokes (8).
  • Every day, 12 West Virginians die from smoking-related causes (9).
  • Most of the approximately 8,000 West Virginians who start smoking each year are under the age of 18 (10).
  • Smoking-related diseases cost West Virginians over $546 million each year (11).
  • in a recent survey in West Virginia, 76% of those surveyed--including 46 of whom were current smokers--were bothered by smoke from others’ cigarettes (12).
  • West Virginia ranked second highest in the United States in smokeless tobacco use in 1994 (13).
  • A 1995 survey of students showed that 35% of males in grades 9-12 used chewing tobacco or snuff in the past 30 days. In that same survey, 76% of students in grades 9-12 had tried cigarettes, 43% in the past 30 days (14).

In the United States and around the world:

  • One out of every three adult smokers will die from their addiction (15).
  • Each year, more than 400,000 Americans die prematurely as a result of tobacco use. This number represents one out of every five deaths in the United States. These premature deaths also represent a yearly loss of five million years of life (16).
  • Every year, more Americans are killed by tobacco-related disease than all those who died as a result of World War II (17).
  • One in ten human beings alive today will die from a tobacco-related cause (18).
  • Cigarette smoking remains the largest avoidable cause of premature death and disability in the United States (19).
  • There are 30,000 new cases of oral cancer in the United States each year and 25% are fatal (20).


  • Cigarette smoking is responsible for 40% of heart disease in those under 65 years of age. Thirty percent of all heart disease deaths each year are caused by cigarette smoking (21).
  • Light smoking (1-4 cigarettes a day) caused an increase in coronary heat disease to 11% compared to only 3.7% for nonsmokers(22).
  • A substantial majority of all open heart surgery and heart transplants are needed to repair damage caused by smoking (23).
  • Smoking increased the risk of stroke by 40% in men and 60% in women (24).
  • Smoking increases the risks for the following diseases:
    • Rheumatic heart disease
    • Hypertension
    • Ischemic heart disease
    • Pulmonary heart disease
    • Cardiac arrest
    • Cerebrovascular disease
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Aortic aneurysm (25)
  • Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives increase their risk of heart attack ten fold and run a risk of strokes and blood clots in their legs (26).


Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette:

  • you stop polluting the air
  • Blood pressure drops to normal
  • pulse rate drops to normal
  • temperature of hands and feet increases to normal

Within 8 Hours:

  • carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
  • oxygen level in blood increases to normal

Within 24 hours:

  • chance of heart attack decreases

Within 48 hours:

  • nerve endings adjust to the absence of nicotine
  • ability to smell and taste things is enhanced

Within 72 hours:

  • bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier
  • lung capacity increases

Within two weeks to three months:

  • circulation improves
  • walking becomes easier
  • lung function increases 30%

Within one to nine months:

  • coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath all decrease cilia regrow in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, reduce infection body’s overall energy level increases

Within one year:

  • heart disease death rate is halfway back to that of a nonsmoker

Within five years:

  • Heart disease death rate drops to the rate for nonsmokers
  • Lung cancer death rate decreases halfway back to that of nonsmokers

Within ten years:

  • Lung cancer death rate drops almost to the rate for nonsmokers
  • Precancerous cells are replaced
  • The incidence of all other cancers--of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas--decreases

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Published July 1997
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