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Smoking Increases Levels of Harmful Substances

separator There’s new evidence that people who smoke have higher levels of three factors that promote clotting and inflammation: homocysteine, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein. Fibrinogen and C-reactive protein are thought to increase inflammation, which many believe is as important a risk factor for heart disease as high cholesterol. And fibrinogen and homocysteine are thought to be related to formation of clots. Clots are dangerous because they can travel to the arteries and block blood flow to the heart.

A study of 17,000 people—some who smoked, some who had quit and some who had never smoked—showed that smokers had the highest levels of the harmful factors, and that former smokers had only slightly higher levels than people who had never smoked.

The study results could be a motivating factor for people who want to quit smoking. It’s helpful to know that by quitting, your risk of heart disease and heart attack decreases greatly.

Annals of Internal Medicine, 3 June 2003
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