Smokes can cause strokes
Smoking doubles your risk of stroke. The more you smoke the greater your risk of stroke.
- Tobacco in every form is very harmful to your health. Exposure to second-hand smoke is also dangerous.
- Smokers have twice the risk of having a stroke than non-smokers.
- 14% of Australians aged 15 years and older are daily smokers. This percentage is higher in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (in 2012–13, 40% of those aged 15 years and older were daily smokers).
Smoking increases your risk of stroke by increasing blood pressure and reducing oxygen in the blood. Smoking also increases the stickiness of the blood. This further increases the risk of blood clots forming.
Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 toxic chemicals which are deposited on the lungs or absorbed into the bloodstream. Some of these chemicals damage blood vessel walls, leading to atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries). This increases the chance of blood clots forming in the arteries to the brain and heart.
If you have had a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack) you need to stop smoking immediately.
Mandy's Story - "I treated smoking like a best friend"
There are immediate health benefits from quitting smoking. They include:
- Within a month after a person stops smoking, blood pressure returns to its normal range.
- The risk of heart attack and stroke starts to drop immediately after a person stops using tobacco products, and can drop by as much as half after one year.
- After fifteen years your risk of stroke and heart attack is almost the same as that of a person who has never smoked.
How to QUIT
It is never too late to stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about quitting.
There are programs to help you quit smoking:
- National Quitline 13 78 48 (13 QUIT)
- www.quitnow.gov.au and download ‘My QuitBuddy’. My QuitBuddy is a mobile phone app that is designed to support and encourage you on your journey to becoming smoke free.
- Cancer Council Australia website, www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/smoking-and-tobacco