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Letter to the Editor: Help is available for those who want to quit smoking

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By The Staff

The U.S. Surgeon General has shown extensive evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke produces many severe health effects on one’s body, including immediate effects on the heart and blood vessels. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and the Institute of Medicine found that secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of heart disease by 25-30 percent. The Institute also notes consistent evidence that communities have fewer heart attacks after they go smoke-free.

We know that:

• Five minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke makes it harder for the heart to pump blood.

• 20-30 minutes of exposure causes blood clots and fat to build up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

• Two hours of exposure can speed up the heart rate and lead to abnormal heart rhythms, which may cause death.

Why not promote a smoke-free environment in your home, car, school, and community? Ask people to smoke outside and work for smoke-free workplaces and public places. Everyone deserves to breathe clean air.

If you or a loved one smoke, there are many resources available, (800) Quit-Now, is a free hotline where you can speak with a trained staff professional that can assist you in your mission to quit smoking. The Quitline currently is offering free nicotine replacement products to low-income people and discount coupons for Chantix.

The Cooper/Clayton Method To Stop Smoking is also a highly effective resource; this program uses nicotine replacement therapy, education and social support to help participants become non-smokers. Even if someone has tried to quit several times without success, they can still make this program work. Three Rivers District Health Department offers Cooper/Clayton classes; for information contact me, Katie Gilson, at (502) 484-5736.

Help us promote community health by encouraging loved ones to quit and making indoor environments smoke-free.

Katie Gilson, MPH

Three Rivers District Health Department