Vascular Web Logo

SVS  SVS Foundation

 Two Days After the Great American Smoke-Out

November 10, 2011    Contact: Sue Crosson-Knutson    312-334-2311

CHICAGO - “If smokers could see what I see – tobacco damaged veins and arteries - they would eagerly participate in the Great American Smoke Out on November 17,” said vascular surgeon, Spencer Galt, M.D., of the Society for Vascular Surgery®.

The 34th Annual Great American Smoke Out is an invitation to “kick the habit” for America’s 46.6 million smokers.     

“Cancer, heart disease, and stroke – all of which are caused by smoking - are among the biggest killers of Americans,” said Dr. Galt. “The Great American Smoke Out spotlights the benefits of quitting smoking. One of the most important habits for vascular wellness is not smoking.”
Tobacco Use: Targeting the Nation’s Leading Killer, a 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report indicates that smoking leads to 443,000 premature deaths annually due to tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke.

“Nicotine in cigarettes raises blood pressure and constricts arteries,” said Dr. Galt. Narrowed arteries can result in:
  • blood clots
  • heart attacks (narrowed coronary artery)
  • stroke (narrowed brain or neck artery) 
  • peripheral arterial disease (PAD) leading to gangrene and amputation (narrowed leg artery)
  • erectile dysfunction for men in their 30s and 40s (narrowed artery to the penis).

In addition, smokers are more likely to develop aneurysms (ballooning of an artery due to a weakness in the blood vessel wall) than non-smokers,” said Dr. Galt.  “These conditions are preventable by becoming a non-smoker on Nov. 17.” 

By Nov. 19, (48 hours after quitting smoking):  

   Blood pressure will decrease
   Pulse rate will drop
   Body temperature of hands and feet will increase
   Carbon monoxide level in the blood will return to normal 
   Oxygen level in the blood will return to normal
   Chance of a heart attack will decrease
   Nerve endings will start to re-grow
   Ability to taste and smell will increase

Source: Society for Vascular Surgery

Smokers should talk to their doctors about vascular health. Non-invasive ultrasound screenings can detect many vascular conditions. Lifestyle changes, medications, stents, and bypass surgery can correct some of these conditions.

To learn more, visit
# # #
About the Society for Vascular Surgery
The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,500 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at®. Follow SVS on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact Us

Society for Vascular Surgery
633 North Saint Clair Street, 22nd Floor | Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-334-2300 | 800-258-7188
Fax: 312-334-2320

Follow Us


VascularWeb® is the prime source for all vascular health and disease information, and is presented by the Society for Vascular Surgery®. Its members are vascular surgeons, specialists, and vascular health professionals who are specialty-trained in all treatments for vascular disease including medical management, non-invasive procedures, and surgery.