Smoking rates in Jefferson County too high
To the editor:
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, Jefferson County currently has 30.2 percent of adults who report currently smoking, which is well above the Iowa average of 19.5 percent.
February is “Heart Health Month.” Every time you use tobacco, your arteries are hardening and narrowing, making it harder for blood to flow. This puts more stress on your heart, which can lead to an aneurysm, coronary artery disease, or heart failure. Each time you smoke, your blood pressure goes up, putting more pressure on these weakened arteries. This can lead to the following risks:
• Poor circulation throughout the body. If the blood can’t flow easily, extremities like feet and hands often miss out, leading to coldness or numbness;
• Increased risk of heart attack. The harder the heart has to work to pump blood through narrowed arteries, the more likely it is that it will wear out, leading to chest pain, irregular heart rhythms, or heart failure;
• Increased risk of stroke or dementia. As the blood vessels in your brain become damaged by the constant barrage of pressure, they start to narrow, rupture or leak. This can lead to your brain getting less oxygen, which kills brain cells. Over time, this leads to problems with thinking, speaking, reasoning, memory, vision and even movement
Luckily, quitting smoking helps reduce these risks very quickly. Your blood pressure falls only 20 minutes after your last cigarette and your risk of heart attack decreases after 24 hours. In fact, quitting smoking can decrease your risk of heart attack by up to 75 percent overall. We know quitting can be difficult. Quitline Iowa is here to help you. It’s free and it’s confidential. Save your heart.
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.quitnow.net/iowa for details or to enroll.
– Ken Daley, Fairfield, Jefferson County Tobacco Coalition program director