Letter to the editor: February is American Heart Month
An excellent time to quit smoking
Everywhere we turn in February we can find stores decorated with hearts and stocked full of special treats, reminding us to buy something sweet for our valentine. Not only is February the month to celebrate your special someone, it also happens to be American Heart Month — a great time to quit smoking.
Fourteen percent of Wisconsin cardiovascular disease deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes. The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the cells that line the blood vessels to become inflamed. This can narrow the blood vessels and lead to many cardiovascular conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
Smoking damages the heart and blood vessels quickly, but the damage is repaired for most smokers who stop smoking. Even life-long smokers can experience rapid health improvements when they quit. Within a year, the risk of heart attack drops dramatically, and even people who have already had a heart attack can decrease their risk of having another. Smoking just a few cigarettes now and then can damage the heart, so the only proven way to keep your heart safe is to quit.
The Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line — 1-800-QUIT-NOW — is available to help those ready to quit smoking. When you call the Quit Line, you will get free medications, materials, tips, and coaching to help you quit successfully.
Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition