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Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

From: Centers For Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking causes many diseases and reduces the health of smokers in general.1

Smoking and Death

Smoking causes death.

  • The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.2,3
  • More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.2,4
  • Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.1
  • An estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking.1

Smoking and Increased Health Risks

Compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of—

  • coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times,1,5
  • stroke by 2 to 4 times,1,6
  • men developing lung cancer by 23 times,1
  • women developing lung cancer by 13 times,1 and
  • dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times.1

Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

  • Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.1
  • Cigarette smoking causes reduced circulation by narrowing the blood vessels (arteries) and puts smokers at risk of developing peripheral vascular disease (i.e., obstruction of the large arteries in the arms and legs that can cause a range of problems from pain to tissue loss or gangrene).1,7
  • Smoking causes abdominal aortic aneurysm (i.e., a swelling or weakening of the main artery of the body—the aorta—where it runs through the abdomen).1


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004 [accessed 2012 Jan 10].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8 [accessed 2012 Jan 10].
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health, United States. Hyattsville (MD): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. [accessed 2012 Jan 10].
  4. Mokdad AH, Marks JS, Stroup DF, Gerberding JL. Actual Causes of Death in the United States. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association 2004;291(10):1238–45 [cited 2012 Jan 10].
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking: 25 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 1989 [accessed 2012 Jan 10].
  6. Ockene IS, Miller NH. Cigarette Smoking, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals from the American Heart Association.Exit NotificationCirculation 1997;96(9):3243–7 [accessed 2012 Jan 10].
  7. Institute of Medicine. Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence.Exit Notification  (PDF–747 KB) Washington: National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, 2009 [accessed 2012 Jan 10].
  8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, 2001 [accessed 2012 Jan 10].

For Further Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

Smoking and Job Strain

“Studies have shown that workers facing job strain (or its components—high job demands and low job control) smoke more (if they are smokers) or have greater difficulty quitting smoking [110-113]. In some studies, workers with job strain are heavier and exercise less [110, 114, 115]. Workers with low job control have higher levels of plasma fibrinogen, a chemical in the blood that contributes to atherosclerosis, that is, hardening of the arteries [116, 117]. And workers with low job control or job strain, in some studies, show greater atherosclerosis in the arteries in the heart or the arteries going to the brain [118-121]. High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis [122].”

Taken from: Schnall PL, Dobson M, Rosskam E, Editors Unhealthy Work: Causes, Consequences, Cures. Baywood Publishing, 2009.

110. Hellerstedt, W. L. and R. W. Jeffery, The Association of Job Strain and Health Behaviours in Men and Women, International Journal of Epidemiology, 26:3, pp. 575-583, 1997.

111. Kawakami, N., T. Haratani, and S. Araki, Job Strain and Arterial Blood Pressure, Serum Cholesterol, and Smoking as Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease in Japan, International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 71:6, pp. 429-432, 1998.

112. Green, K. L. and J. V. Johnson, The Effects of Psychosocial Work Organization on Patterns of Cigarette Smoking among Male Chemical Plant Employees, American Journal of Public Health, 80, pp. 1368-1371, 1990.

113. Landsbergis, P. A., P. L. Schnall, D. K. Deitz, K. Warren, T. G. Pickering, and J. E. Schwartz, Job Strain and Health Behaviors: Results of a Prospective Study, American Journal of Health Promotion, 12:4, pp. 237-245, 1998.

114. Siegrist, J. and A. Rodel, Work Stress and Health Risk Behavior, Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment and Health, 32:6, pp. 473-481, 2006.

115. Johansson, G., J. V. Johnson, and E. M. Hall, Smoking and Sedentary Behavior as Related to Work Organization, Social Science and Medicine, 32, pp. 837-846, 1991.

116. Markowe, H. L., M. G. Marmot, M. J. Shipley, et al., Fibrinogen: A Possible Link between Social Class and Coronary Heart Disease, British Medical Journal, 291, pp. 1312-1314, 1985.

117. Brunner, E. J., G. D. Smith, M. G. Marmot, R. Canner, M. Beksinska, and J. O’Brien, Chi l dhood Soci al Ci r cumst ances and Psychosoci al and Behavi or al Fact or s as Determinants of Plasma Fibrinogen, Lancet, 347, pp. 1008-1013, 1996.

118. Langosch, W., B. Brodner, and M. Borcherding, Psychosocial and Vocational Long- Term Outcomes of Cardiac Rehabilitation with Postinfarction Patients under the Age of Forty, Psychosomatic Medicine, 40, pp. 115-128, 1983.

119. Muntaner, C., F. J. Nieto, L. Cooper, J. Meyer, M. Szklo, and H. A. Tyroler, Work Organization and Atherosclerosis: Findings from the Aric Study. Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14, pp. 9-18, 

120. Hintsanen, M., M. Kivimaki, M. Elovainio, et al., Job Strain and Early Atherosclerosis: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, Psychosomatic Medicine, 67:5, pp. 740-747, 2005.

121. Rosvall, M., P. O. Ostergren, B. Hedblad, S. O. Isacsson, L. Janzon, and G. Berglund, Work-Related Psychosocial Factors and Carotid Atherosclerosis, International Journal of Epidemiology, 31:6, pp. 1169-1178, 2002.

122. Steptoe, A. and M. Marmot, Atherogenesis, Coagulation and Stress Mechanisms, Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews, 15:1, pp. 136-138, 2000.

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