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Perspectives

Smoking and cardiovascular disease

Colin P Mendelsohn

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Abstract

Smoking cessation is an urgent priority for all smokers, especially those with cardiovascular disease. The cardiovascular risks from smoking are substantial but are largely reversible by quitting. Quitting is especially important for smokers with pre-existing cardiovascular disease and GPs are well placed to assist them.

Key Points

  • Smoking triples the risk of acute myocardial infarction.
  • Even smoking one to four cigarettes per day is associated with substantial cardiovascular risk.
  • The cardiovascular risks from smoking are largely reversible by quitting.
  • Smoking impacts on the action of warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel and some other medications used for cardiac conditions.
  • The safety of nicotine replacement therapies in smokers with stable cardiovascular disease has been firmly established.

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