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Is it the nicotine or the smoke that causes heart disease?

The many toxins in tobacco smoke are the main culprit. Nicotine can cause your blood vessels to constrict and your heart to beat faster raising your blood pressure and pulse somewhat, but the arterial plaque build-up from the toxins leads to cardiovascular disease. Cigarette smoke also contains carbon monoxide which can displace valuable oxygen in your blood. This is especially important if you already have heart or lung disease. 

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