The dangers of sticky blood
Smoking causes sticky blood, which is dangerous because it can result in clots that can block arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Sticky blood from smoking can even cause heart attacks and strokes in people aged in their 30s and 40s. If you are a smoker, within 10 minutes of inhaling a cigarette, your blood becomes sticky.
How your blood becomes sticky
Blood is very good at clotting when you have a cut or wound. The role of special cells (platelets) and proteins (such as fibrin) is to clump together and clot to protect the wound and prevent further blood loss. But chemicals in cigarette smoke make these cells and proteins stickier than normal. So, when you smoke, your blood is more likely to form dangerous clots.
Second-hand smoke and sticky blood
Sticky blood can affect the health of your loved ones who don’t smoke if you smoke around them, increasing their risk of a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack.
Preventing sticky blood
The good news is that within two to three months of stopping smoking, blood becomes less sticky and the risk of having a heart attack falls substantially over time.
Once you stop smoking:
• you will reduce your chances of cancer and heart disease
• your fitness will improve
• you will increase your chances of living longer and spending quality time with your family and friends
• you won’t be exposing your family to dangerous second-hand smoke.
For options to quit smoking, visit the Quit your way page.
For more information about sticky blood, visit www.quit.org.au/articles/sticky-blood-hub/.