I have a friend who is also a black belt who is undergoing a crisis right now with major heart surgery. This is her second go-around. She was a smoking fiend all her life and after the first heart surgery, she said she gave it up but... Most of know that martial arts and smoking aren't compatible, just like life and smoking aren't but I am amazed how many people in MA still do. So I made the poll. I hope those that indicated that they are still smoking, try to get into a cessation program and use this as a place for support. Obviously those that get into this forum have a passion for martial arts. But you have to have life to enjoy them.... TW Quoting Nightingale from a previous post: Nicotine acts directly on the heart to change heart rate and blood pressure. Nicotine causes a short-term increase in blood pressure, heart rate and the flow of blood from the heart. It also causes the arteries to narrow. Tobacco includes carbon monoxide, which reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can carry. This, combined with the nicotine effects, creates an imbalance between the demand for oxygen by the cells and the amount of oxygen the blood can supply. Nicotine also causes several changes in the blood that make clots -- and heart attack -- more likely. Tobacco may increase the risk of developing hardening of the arteries and heart attacks in several ways. Carbon monoxide may damage the inner walls of the arteries, encouraging fatty buildups in them. Over time, this causes the vessels to narrow and harden. Nicotine may also contribute to this process.