Coronary Heart Disease and Tobacco

The heart gets its blood supply from the coronary arteries. When the coronary arteries become blocked, narrowed, or completely obstructed, the heart cannot get the nutrients, fuel and oxygen it needs. This is known as coronary artery disease (CAD) and can lead to a heart attack.

  • Coronary heart disease and stroke are the primary kinds of heart disease caused by smoking.
  • Smoking causes heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • More than 2,600 Americans die every day because of cardiovascular diseases - about one death every 33 seconds.
  • Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers.
  • Smoking has been linked with sudden cardiac death of all types in both men and women.
  • In addition to heart disease, smoking doubles a person's risk for stroke.
  • Cigarette smoking harms circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries).
  • Smoking injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. Learn more about the affects of smoking on high blood pressure.
  • Smokers are more than 10 times more likely to develop peripheral vascular disease compared to nonsmokers.
  • Smoking causes abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • You can learn more about coronary artery disease at National Jewish Health®.


National Jewish Health. Health Information: Conditions: Coronary Artery Disease Available from:

American Heart Association. Cigarette Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease.