The effect of smoking on the cardiovascular system

UDC 616.1+613.84
Publication date: 30.01.2023
International Journal of Professional Science №1-2023

The effect of smoking on the cardiovascular system

Gromakova Anastasia Igorevna
Luschik Marina Valeryevna
Makeeva Anna Vitalievna
1. 3rd year student
2. Associate Professor, Candidate of Biological Sciences,
3. Associate Professor, Candidate of Biological Sciences
N. N. Burdenko State Medical University of the Ministry of Health of Russia,
Voronezh, Russia
Abstract: The analysis of literature data on the influence of smoking on the development of cardiovascular pathology and changes in the rheological properties of blood. The harmful effect of tobacco smoke on the body has been studied and the mechanism of its action has been described. Attention is paid to the problem of "passive smoking", as well as the characteristic environment for its development. The composition of tobacco smoke is considered, the harmful effects of toxic substances contained in a cigarette on the body are explained in detail. We mention how the hemostasis system suffers as a result of prolonged smoking, the risks of thrombosis and the asymptomatic moment of thrombus detachment. Comparisons of the health and mortality of a smoker, based on the statistics of the health organization, with people who do not smoke or quit smoking are given. In conclusion, the authors' position on the topic of smoking is given as an important social problem.
Keywords: smoking, cardiovascular system, nicotine, passive smoking, circulatory system, heart disease, blood pressure, health organization.

Introduction. Many people know that smoking has one of the most negative effects on the human body. However, most do not know exactly how addiction develops, and then various diseases. Every year, diseases of the cardiovascular system become the cause of death of millions of people around the world. Currently, it has been proven that the consequences of smoking can lead to the development of coronary heart disease, various arrhythmias and arterial hypertension.

Materials and methods. Analysis of literature data proving the harmful effects of smoking on the cardiovascular system, study of the harmful effects of smoking on the development of a number of pathologies, including diseases of the cardiovascular system

Results. It has been proven that the risk of sudden death increases when smoking cigarettes. For example, the probability of heart and vascular diseases will be 4 times higher in a smoker compared not only with a non-smoker, but also a person who has given up smoking. It is shown that the frequency of myocardial infarction increases twice, and atherosclerosis — three times.

The whole problem lies in nicotine and other toxic compounds contained in tobacco smoke. And then what happens in the cardiovascular system during smoking? Nicotine, getting into the blood, causes a sharp release of adrenaline, therefore, the walls of blood vessels contract, blood pressure rises and the heart rate increases. The smoker’s circulatory system does not return to its original state, and the heart continues to beat hard even 20-30 minutes after smoking a cigarette.

In addition, nicotine disrupts the permeability of cell membranes, which contributes to ionic imbalance and the development of calcium deficiency. As a result, the mechanism of contractions of the striated musculature is disrupted and the normal operation of the heart muscle becomes impossible without this essential element. A high dose of nicotine reduces the level of prostacyclin. This hormone relaxes the blood vessels after the previous contraction. That’s how everything is interconnected.[3]

However, as mentioned, nicotine is not the only «culprit» of the depression of the cardiovascular system. For example, carbon dioxide replaces oxygen when it enters the bloodstream when smoking. What causes hypoxia or oxygen starvation of the heart and brain, as well as other organs. It has been proven that atherosclerosis occurs due to the high content of «harmful» lipoproteins. And which compound increases their content? This is carbon monoxide, which is part of tobacco smoke, which is extremely toxic for a reason. It is known that the content of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood of a smoker is approximately about 5-15%, but it can reach 20%. This concentration is characteristic of mild acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Subsequently, the blood is not able to carry the right amount of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, and then the oxygen supply of the heart muscle (myocardium) is significantly disrupted, which leads to the development of coronary heart disease. In addition, this component of tobacco smoke significantly damages the endothelium of blood vessels and increases the risk of narrowing of the coronary arteries.[1]

The hemostasis system also suffers from the effects of smoking. In smokers, blood coagulates faster due to an increase in the level of fibrinogen and an increase in blood viscosity, as well as changes in the adhesive properties of platelets. That’s why the risk of thrombosis increases. The consequences are disappointing: myocardial infarction, brain stroke, lung infarction. The worst thing is that the formation of blood clots and even the moment of their separation is absolutely asymptomatic. [2]

It is also interesting that «passive smoking» contributes to the development of diseases peculiar to smokers. The term «passive smoking» means unintentional and unwanted inhalation of air poisoned by substances released during smoking. Almost every person on the planet has been a passive smoker at least once, without even knowing it. This is especially true for large cities and large megacities. The harm of smoking for people who are in the same room with a smoker arises from the fact that he is forced to absorb substances from the smoke exhaled into the environment from another person. The main stream enters the smoker’s lungs, and the part of the smoke that is released into the atmosphere is inhaled by everyone who is nearby.

Around the world, about 600,000 people die every year from the terrible consequences of passive smoking. About 400,000 of this number die from heart ailments.[7]Such statistics were provided by the World Health Organization.[9]

8 million people die from the effects of tobacco use every year. [8]Moreover, 7 million of them are consumers and former tobacco users, and more than 1.2 million are «passive smokers». In a study conducted among British male doctors, the probability of death in middle age (45-64 years) was 3 times, and in retirement age (65-84 years) — 2 times higher in smokers compared to those who have never smoked.[10]

Discussion. Nicotine is a slow-acting poison, so smoking tobacco is not just a bad habit, but a very serious social problem. Many advertising companies offer their customers to experience freedom and incredible sensations by inhaling and exhaling tobacco smoke, selling and promoting their goods in every possible way under various packages.[5]Vapes, electronic cigarettes, to which a considerable part of young people have managed to get used, are not a safe alternative to conventional tobacco smoking.[4]

And if euphoria occurs first, then the mechanism of addiction triggers, leading to disastrous consequences not only for the smokers themselves, but also for others. Perhaps this article will make you think about the dangers of smoking and give it up forever.[6]


1. Tobacco smoking: harm, methods of refusal: recommendations to those who smoke and want to get rid of tobacco addiction / Ovchinnikov B. V., Diakonov I. F., Zobnev V. M., Diakonova T. I.; under the general ed. of V. K. Shamrey. — St. Petersburg: SpetsLit, 2012. – 45 p.
2. Fundamentals of medical knowledge: studies.manual for students of pedagogical universities : studies. handbook for university students / O. G. Gureeva et al.; Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. Federation, Omsk. state. ped. un-T. — Omsk: Publishing house of OmSPU, 2004. – 255 p.
3. Bad habits and their prevention: a textbook / comp. Gorskaya I.Yu., comp. Gubareva N.V. — Omsk: SibGUFK Publishing House, 2010. – 212 p.
4.Belyaev, I. I. Tobacco - the enemy of health / I.I. Belyaev. - M.: Medicine, 2017. - 838 p.
5.Shpakov A.O. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. Substance abuse. Smoking. Natural and household poisons/A.O.Shpakov.– S.-P.: Zenit, 2000. –363s.
6.Bryant-Mole, K. Smoking / K. Bryant-Mole. — Moscow : Makhaon, 1998. — 31 p. BBK 74.200.53
8.Global Burden of Disease [database].Washington, DC: Institute of Health Metrics; 2019. IHME, as of July 17, 2021.