Smoking, or being exposed to second-hand smoke, contributes to heart disease by making the heart work harder. It constricts blood vessels and contributes to a buildup of harmful plaque inside of them. When you smoke, you force your heart to pump harder to distribute blood throughout the body. Every drag from a cigarette introduces carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals into your body. Carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen you should be breathing in, making it more difficult for your body’s cells to the oxygen they need.
The good news is that if you are able to quit smoking for 12 months, your risk of developing heart disease drops by one-half. Within five years of quitting, you will have the same level of risk as someone who has never smoked.