Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease and other heart conditions, including heart failure. According to an editorial in the journal Circulation Research, smoking causes blood pressure to spike, increases pulmonary artery pressure, shoots up systemic vascular resistance, and amplifies exposure to carbon monoxide — which damages the kidneys and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart failure.

According to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, smokers of tobacco cigarettes get heart failure at a rate that is double that of non-smokers. In the study, researchers examined the health conditions of roughly 9,500 participants, including non-smokers, former smokers, and current smokers. Over a 13-year period, heart failure struck current smokers twice as frequently as non-smokers.

The moral of the story is: the more regularly a person smokes, the higher their risk of heart failure is. The study's senior author Kunihiro Matsushita says, "These findings underline the importance of preventing smoking in the first place, especially among children and young adults."

Trying to quit smoking can be a long and daunting process, but it's a challenge worth taking in the name of heart health. You can join a quit-smoking course, use self-help materials, or consult your physician for help.

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