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Cigarette smoking lowers HDL ("good") cholesterol. It also injures the lining of the blood vessels and increases the risk of developing blood clots, which contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Even inhaling others' cigarette smoke (secondhand smoke) has been shown to lower HDL cholesterol.
Studies have shown that HDL levels often go up soon after a person quits smoking. For information on how to quit, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Last Revised: September 11, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
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