Smokers’ increased risk for RA is not the only reason smoking and RA do not mix. RA and smoking also pack a double punch when it comes to cardiovascular disease (CVD). That’s because a history of smoking and RA are both independent risk factors for CVD, which puts you at a higher risk for heart attack. All people with RA are advised to take steps — such as adopting a heart-healthy diet or getting more aerobic exercise — to reduce their risk for CVD. For people with RA who smoke, the best thing they can do for their heart is quit.