(BLOOMINGTON) – Healthcare organizations nationwide spread awareness about preventing heart disease as part of American Heart Month every February. But did you know that quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your heart?
“There are thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke, and breathing in that smoke is toxic to smokers and the people around them,” said IU Health Community Health Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Patricia Colon, MPH, CHES®. “The chemicals travel through your body and can damage a person’s heart and blood vessels.”
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said this damage could lead to cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
The FDA also identified three smoking cessation benefits specifically related to your heart:
- Your heart rate drops 20 minutes after you quit smoking.
- The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal, allowing more oxygen to vital organs like your heart, 12 hours after smoking cessation.
- Your risk of stroke decreases to that of lifetime nonsmokers within four years of quitting.
“It’s never too late to quit smoking,” said Colon. “It can be difficult, but it’s important for your health and the health of your loved ones.”
Get free assistance from the Indiana Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit QuitNowIndiana.com for more information.
For more on local tobacco prevention and control efforts, visit Tobacco Free Coalition of Monroe County on Facebook.