Smoking and Vein Disease: What Are the Effects

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Smoking and Vein Disease

Smoking is an unhealthy habit that impacts the heart, lungs, brain, and every organ in the body. If these effects aren’t bad enough, there is also a strong connection between smoking and vein disease.

Vein disease, also known as venous insufficiency, is the underlying cause of varicose veins and spider veins. It develops when veins are placed under strain, such as smoking, and begin to malfunction. When veins cannot efficiently transport blood back to your heart, blood often begins to pool in the legs, ankles, and feet.

When left untreated, vein disease can have serious health consequences. You may experience painful symptoms that impact your quality of life. Or, you may be at increased risk for dangerous issues like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and venous ulcers (open, non-healing wounds).

Below, we’ll discuss the effects of smoking on your veins. If you have additional questions about vein disease caused by smoking, we suggest consulting a vein specialist. Our leading experts can provide helpful resources to improve your vein health.

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What Does Smoking Do to Your Veins?

Smoking and vein disease are often related. In fact, smoking is a key underlying risk factor for the development of vein disease. This is because smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, which can impact your body’s ability to circulate blood.

While poor circulation is why many smokers experience coldness in their hands and feet, your circulatory system is responsible for a lot more than just keeping your extremities warm. While the arteries transport oxygenated blood throughout the body, your veins are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart for reoxygenation.

Common signs of poor circulation include:

  • Cold feet or legs
  • Swollen legs, ankles, or feet
  • Muscle cramping
  • Numbness
  • Changes in skin color
  • Leg ulcers –– a long-lasting sore that takes more than 2 weeks to heal
  • Varicose veins

If you experience any of the above symptoms, we recommend seeking evaluation for vein disease –– especially if you smoke.


Benefits of Quitting Smoking & Tobacco Use on Vein Disease

The good news is that quitting smoking, vaping, and other forms of tobacco use can quickly improve the health of your veins. You may be surprised to learn that the body starts to recover within only one hour of smoking its last cigarette[1]. The heart rate quickly drops, along with blood pressure.

Soon after, the body’s circulation also begins to improve. This can reduce your risk of developing vein disease, alleviate painful or uncomfortable symptoms, and ultimately improve your quality of life.

Did you know that tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different compounds, including 43 cancer-causing elements?

If you want to quit smoking, keep in mind that turning to vaping is not a good solution. Like smoking, vaping can impact the health of your heart, lungs, and veins. Vaping involves nicotine, a dangerous and addictive toxic substance. Among its other effects, nicotine increases blood pressure, a major underlying risk factor for vein disease.

If you smoke or vape, talk to your doctor about your quitting options.


Improving Vein Health at USA Vein Clinics

If you have concerns about smoking and vascular disease, our experts can help. One of our trusted vein specialists can answer specific questions: does smoking constrict your blood vessels, and does smoking make your blood thicker? Then, we can make personalized recommendations to improve your vein health.

Our specialists can also perform minimally invasive, office-based vein treatment when necessary. Our non-surgical methods can quickly relieve venous symptoms like leg swelling, cramping, itching, and fatigue. Our treatments take less than an hour, from start to finish.

Simply schedule a consultation at one of our 100+ nationwide clinics to learn more. If preferred, you can also request a virtual doctor visit.


[1] “What Happens after You Quit Smoking? A Timeline.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International. Accessed February 28, 2022.


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