Letter: This World Heart Day, put health first, act to stop smoking, vaping

From: Aparna Anantharaman


One person dies every 34 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular diseases. Did you know that smoking/tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are among the leading risk factors for heart diseases?

Tomorrow, Sept. 29, is World Heart Day. It’s the perfect time to improve your heart health by exercising, eating healthy and quitting smoking/tobacco use. This is a moment for all of us to pause and consider how to use our heart for humanity, nature, and ourselves, and how best to protect it.

Quitting smoking reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease) and a multitude of other chronic diseases. The ill effects of tobacco use are not just limited to traditional cigarettes or cigars. E-cigarettes including hookah pens, vaporizers and vaping devices are equally lethal. It is never too late to start caring for your heart health.

The good news is that 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. Further, within eight hours, blood oxygen level increases and chances of a heart attack start to fall. Finally, within five years, the risk of a heart attack falls to around half that of a smoker.

This World Heart Day, let us take a pledge to keep our heart healthy. Do your part, care for your heart. If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, we have free help available here in Indiana. You can call the Indiana Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit QuitNowIndiana.com. For more information on local tobacco prevention and control efforts, visit www.crh.org/quit.