Smoking is a risk factor for stroke. Smoking adds to the buildup of plaque in your arteries (atherosclerosis). Nicotine raises your blood pressure. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen your blood carries to your brain. Cigarette smoke also makes your blood thicker and more likely to clot increasing your risk of stroke.

If you smoke, quitting can help to reduce your risk. If you don’t smoke, you can protect yourself by avoiding second-hand smoke (environmental tobacco smoke).

If you smoke, talk with your doctor, pharmacist or stroke rehabilitation team. They can help you by referring you to programs, counseling, or medications can help you break the habit. Remember, it is never too late to become smoke-free.