Archived Story

Stop smoking for a healthier Alabama

Published 7:57am Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February was Heart Month, not just because of Valentine’s Day, but to raise awareness that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., impacting one in three Americans.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends avoiding tobacco use and secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure. These are leading causes of preventable death in the U.S., and major contributors to heart disease.

Just last year, Alabama’s own Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, issued a report saying how any exposure to tobacco smoke — an occasional cigarette or SHS — is a danger. The report details the immediate damage to the body’s organs and blood vessels caused by some 7,000 compounds contained in cigarette smoke.

Each year 440,000 Americans die from the complications of tobacco use due to cardiovascular disease.

Quitting smoking reduces the risk of death from heart disease by 50 percent or more. It also reduces the risk of high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.

Visit for more information.

The AHA estimates that each year 37,000 – 40,000 people die from heart disease caused by other people’s smoke (SHS). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies throughout the U.S. found that implementing smoke-free policies is associated with reductions in hospital heart attack admissions.

Please visit the Coalition for a Tobacco-free Alabama’s Website at to see what you can do to protect all Alabamians from dangerous SHS exposure.

Heather Darracott, Franklin County School System, The Coalition for a Tobacco-free Alabama

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