It's never too late - even after a heart attack -

Coronary artery disease: quitting smoking is always worth it

Many smokers believe that it is already too late for them to benefit from quitting smoking in terms of their health. A current review now points out that it's never too late to quit smoking. Even people who have had a heart attack or are suffering from coronary artery disease can significantly reduce their risk of another heart attack or stroke by quitting smoking.

In a recent Cochrane review, experts compiled the current state of knowledge about the benefits of quitting smoking in people who have had a heart attack or have coronary artery disease. The collected results clearly show that it is worth quitting smoking even after a heart attack, as the risk of other cardiovascular events is reduced by about a third.

One in three people in Germany dies of heart disease

More than 30% of all deaths in Germany are due to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Heart attacks and strokes account for the largest proportion.

Smoking is one of the main risk factors

Along with a poor diet, smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for developing heart disease. About one in ten deaths from cardiovascular disease is attributable to smoking.

It's never too late to quit smoking

The current Cochrane review concludes that smokers benefit from quitting even if they have already had a heart attack or have coronary artery disease. Results from 68 studies, in which a total of more than 80,000 people participated, were used for the review.

The analysis clearly shows that people with coronary heart disease who quit smoking reduce their risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke by about a third.

The myth of lost quality of life

Many smokers fear a subjective loss of quality of life when they quit. Perceived quality of life after smoking cessation was examined in eight studies.

Six months after quitting smoking, the majority of participants reported a better subjective quality of life than those who continued to smoke.

"Our results show that the risk of secondary cardiovascular events decreases in those who quit smoking compared to those who continue to smoke, and that the quality of life improves following smoking cessation", summarize the authors. Cochrane review authors.

“We hope these results will motivate more people to quit smoking and encourage healthcare professionals to be more active in helping patients quit,” the working group concludes. (vb)

Author and source information

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


Cochrane Germany: It's never too late: even after a first heart attack, quitting smoking significantly reduces the risk of another heart attack or stroke. (published: 2022-11-08), cochrane.deWu AD, Lindson N, Hartmann-Boyce J, et al. : Smoking cessation for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases; in: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2022), DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD014936.pub2,

Important note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.