A Systematic Review of the Effects of Smoking on the Cardiovascular System and General Health

Cureus. 2023 Apr 24;15(4):e38073. doi: 10.7759/cureus.38073. eCollection 2023 Apr.


The main risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is smoking. Nicotine and carbon monoxide are two dangerous substances that are found in cigarette smoke. The increased heart rate can have an almost instantaneous impact on the heart and blood vessels. Smoking is well known to cause oxidative stress, endanger the lining of the arteries, and accelerate the accumulation of fatty plaque in the blood vessels. It raises the danger of sudden thrombotic events, inflammatory alterations, and low-density lipoprotein oxidation. The smoke's carbon monoxide decreases the blood's capacity to deliver oxygen, adding to the heart's stress. Notably, these risks increase when diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and glucose intolerance are present. It has a detrimental effect on peripheral blood vessels, raising the possibility of thromboangiitis obliterans. Stroke risk is known to be increased by smoking. As compared to those who continue to smoke, those who give up smoking have a much longer life expectancy. Chronic cigarette smoking has been shown to affect the macrophages' ability to remove cholesterol. Abstinence from smoking enhances the function of high-density lipoproteins and cholesterol efflux, lowering the risk of plaque buildup. In this review, we present the most recent information regarding the causal relationship between smoking and cardiovascular health as well as the long-term advantages of quitting.

Keywords: cardiovascular system; cigarette smoking; effects of smoking; effects on general health; smoking tobacco.

Publication types

  • Review