Skip to main content

Tobacco use a contributing factor in heart disease

Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately two million deaths from heart disease and stroke worldwide each year.

The Heart Foundation and Action on Smoking and Health New Zealand (ASH) are supporting ‘World Smokefree Day’ on Thursday 31 May. 

The campaign highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Heart Foundation Heart Healthcare Spokesperson, Ben Youdan says many smokers are unaware of the link between tobacco and heart disease.

“People don’t realise smoking is responsible for over 1,500 Kiwi deaths from heart disease and stroke each year. Smokers are four times more likely to die of heart disease than a non-smoker. The good news is that quitting is the single best thing they can do for their heart health. The risk halves within a year of going smokefree,” Mr Youdan explains.

The Heart Foundation is involved in a range of health promotion activities that target the risk factors for heart disease which includes smoking.

Heart Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Duncan says the Heart Foundation is proud to support ‘World Smokefree Day’.  

“Tobacco is the number one contributing factor in heart disease and so this campaign aims to highlight the negative impact of tobacco on cardiovascular health. We have information, tips and resources on our website for smokers who want to quit,” Mr Duncan says.

The global tobacco epidemic kills more than seven million people each year, of which two million are a result of heart disease and stroke caused by smoking.

Smoking and heart health 

  • Smoking is the single most preventable cause of heart disease.
  • People who smoke have double the risk of heart attack of non-smokers, and 20 times the risk of angina.
  • If you smoke you are four times more likely to die of heart disease than a non-smoker.
  • Within five years of quitting, an ex-smokers risk of having a half attack or stroke is halved. Within 5-15 years it reduces to that of someone who never smoked.
  • For help and support quitting smoking call the Quitline on 0800 778 778.

Quit smoking