Many factors, such as smoking, stress and lack of exercise, can contribute to the coronary blockage and, as a result, cause heart or chest pain.
Cigarettes constrict blood vessels, and the heart has to work harder. People with angina who have quit smoking often notice a reduction in chest pain within a few weeks.
The harmful effects of smoking on the heart and blood vessels can occur relatively early in a smoker's life. The two culprits are carbon monoxide and nicotine inhaled with the smoke.
Smoking is the cause of more than half of these cardiovascular deaths. Smoking increases the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death. Smoking also increases the risk of relapse in people who have already had a heart attack.
Increased heart rate and increased blood pressure are, therefore, the most common effects.
Smoking is a significant cause of stroke.
Finally, smoking promotes the formation of atheroma (atherosclerosis) plaques in the arteries of the legs. These plaques generate blood circulation, which causes leg pain, difficulty walking, gangrene and amputation.
Smoking can also cause back pain, especially after stopping smoking.