Quit this habit and your heart will thank you. Smoking dramatically raises your risk of death from cardiovascular disease. But just a year after you stop, your chances of a smoking-related heart attack will be reduced by half. After 15 years, your likelihood of dying from a heart attack will be the same as someone who never smoked. Breaking an addiction is never a cinch. But a combination of counselling and medication to deal with withdrawal symptoms can help you succeed.