Why Quitting Smoking Is a Cornerstone of Cardiovascular Health

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Cigarette smoking has long been known to hurt overall health, but just this year, new research detailed the intricate mechanisms by which cigarette smoking impacts cardiovascular health. According to this study published in the J, smoking diminishes nitric oxide bioavailability, elevates superoxide anion levels, and triggers endothelin release, thereby contributing to endothelial dysfunction. Moreover, oxidative stress and inflammation induced by cigarette smoke also influence platelet function, coagulation cascade, and fibrinolysis balance, culminating in thrombus formation.

This shows how smoking exacerbates the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease through its effects on inflammatory cells and adhesion molecules. Understanding these mechanisms underscores the urgent need for smoking cessation as a cornerstone of cardiovascular health. Let’s take a closer look below.

Smoking and its impact on cardiovascular health

The abovementioned pathological changes contribute to the onset and progression of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, strokes, and heart attacks — the latter being one of the many indicators that the cardiac muscle is no longer working properly. This was explained in our previous article Heart Disease, where we discussed the different causes and risk factors of this condition, including smoking. Here, the detrimental effects of smoking on the heart include the narrowing of arteries due to plaque buildup, reduced oxygen delivery to cardiac tissues, and elevated blood pressure. Additionally, smoking adversely affects lipid metabolism, promotes inflammation, and impairs vascular function, all of which collectively increase the risk of developing heart issues.

Yet, a glimmer of hope appears. As per another 2023 literature review by Cureus, quitting smoking has been associated with a profound impact on cardiovascular health, encompassing various dimensions such as the age of cessation, long-term survival benefits, cardiovascular disease risk reduction, weight gain post-cessation, and implications for type 2 diabetes. Notably, early cessation yields substantial survival gains, with individuals quitting in their mid-30s experiencing similar longevity to never-smokers.

Heart-safe tips for quitting

Cardiovascular mortality risk reduction from smoking cessation unfolds gradually over decades, highlighting the importance of sustained cessation efforts. One of the most effective strategies to start with is to slowly but surely break a person's dependency on tobacco cigarettes using quit-smoking aids.

Luckily, the growing market for smokeless nicotine alternatives offers promising options for individuals with unique taste preferences. Additionally, the popularity of these alternatives has led to increased accessibility, with convenient purchasing options available both offline and online. The platform Prilla carries best-selling nicotine pouches from notable brands like ZYN and VELO to novel market entries like Lucy. Smokers who wish to attempt cessation can order on the website and conveniently expect delivery to their doorstep within a few days. These pouches help smokers wean off cigarettes by releasing a controlled dose of nicotine without smoke or tobacco.

Rest assured that although concerns have been raised about the potential cardiovascular impact of these alternatives, prior research suggests that nicotine alone may not be solely responsible for the increased strain on blood vessels associated with smoking. For instance, studies conducted with the nicotine gum by Nicorette and other generic brands have indicated that other toxins in cigarettes and the mode of administration may play significant roles in elevating blood pressure. Consequently, nicotine gum may increase blood pressure less than cigarettes, making it a potentially better alternative for individuals with cardiovascular concerns.

Otherwise, mindfulness therapy has emerged as a beneficial tool for smoking cessation in addition to smokeless alternatives. Apps like iQuit Mindfully integrate mindfulness techniques with smoking cessation support, thereby providing personalized guidance and in-the-moment assistance to users. By incorporating mindfulness practices into their quitting journey, individuals can enhance their resilience to cravings and improve long-term cessation outcomes.

As always, consulting a healthcare professional is recommended for personalized guidance on smoking cessation strategies, especially for those with existing cardiovascular conditions. For more on health and fitness, check out our other articles on Infolific.

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