You know pack-a-day smoking will kill you, but having cigarettes with your beer every Saturday night still constricts your arteries and decreases blood flow in your body, Masley says. Those conditions increase the chances for a heart attack, even if you only light up on the weekends. “It takes seven days to clear the tobacco toxins from one exposure, increasing risk of a heart attack or stroke by 20% for those exposed to tobacco,” Masley says. “So an exposure once per week increases the risk for a cardiovascular event by 20% all the time.”
Tobacco doesn’t just mess with your heart: When the blood supply to vital organs is blocked and artery plaque increases due to long-term tobacco use, it can cause erectile dysfunction. Nobody wants that.
The Fix: Say no when a friend offers you a cig and a light. And don’t substitute chewing tobacco instead. If you smoke or chew regularly, the sooner you quit, the better, Masley says.