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Q: Is it true that smoking can cause a stroke?

Yes. Smoking not only causes heart disease and lung cancer, but can also cause stroke. In fact, smoking is one of the top five causes of stroke. According to the National Stroke Association, smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood which causes the heart to work harder. This also allows blood clots to form more easily. Smoking also increases the amount of build-up in your arteries, which may block the flow of blood to the brain and cause a stroke. When you stop smoking, you greatly reduce your chances of having a stroke.

Maui Health System is hosting a free stroke awareness event today, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Stroke education and interactive learning stations will be available in the courtyard from 4 to 5 p.m. Special guest speakers from Maui's medical community will discuss topics relating to the event theme, Stroke: Preventable, Treatable, Beatable, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Event also includes food, entertainment, prizes and complimentary valet parking. For more information visit our news center.