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Smoking doubles your odds of an ischemic stroke. (And breathing in secondhand smoke on a regular basis raises your risk too.)
How it raises stroke risk: Smoking accelerates hardening of the arteries, encourages formation of blood clots, and boosts blood pressure. New evidence suggests that smoking also contributes to the formation of brain aneurysms, ballooning in the walls of arteries that can rupture and cause hemorrhagic stroke.
Why you should quit: Kicking this habit lowers your odds immediately; within 5 years of quitting, nearly all additional smoking-related stroke risk is erased.
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