Give Your Heart Some Love: Quit Smoking

The American Heart Association encourages Oregonians who smoke to kick the addiction and strengthen their hearts this February

February is American Heart Month, the perfect time for Oregonians who smoke to consider the damage that smoking does to their hearts and the hearts of people they love. More than 7,000 Oregonians die each year from smoking and tobacco-related health issues. A quarter of those deaths are linked to cardiovascular disease or heart-related conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart attack.


The American Heart Association challenges Oregonians interested in quitting to take the first steps this month for healthier, long-lasting hearts. The organization also calls on health care providers to make a point of informing their patients of the damage that smoking can do to their hearts.


Eighty percent of Americans visit their doctor annually, providing physicians with an opportunity to educate people about the risks for heart disease and to refer them to resources for quitting.


“We hope that all Oregonians who smoke will consult their health care providers about the many ways smoking puts their heart at risk,” said Sarah Higginbotham, Director, Government Affairs, American Heart Association – Oregon & SW Washington.  “We commend those individuals seeking help to quit smoking and encourage those considering it to take that step toward a healthier heart and a longer life.”


Research verifies that Oregonians who smoke have double the risk of heart disease and stroke compared with non-smokers. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on Smoking and Health found that 88 percent of adult smokers started to smoke before turning 18, resulting in early onset cardiovascular damage.


Smoking harms not only the hearts of smokers, but the hearts of their family members, friends and coworkers. Secondhand smoke inflicts damage on a bystander’s cardiovascular system immediately, even if only momentarily.


According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, secondhand smoke inhalation increases a non-smoker’s chance of having a stroke by 20-30 percent. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 heart disease deaths annually among adult non-smokers in the United States.


Oregon’s smokefree workplace law, which went into effect in January 2009, made significant progress in reducing heart attack hospitalizations and other smoking-related heart diseases in Oregon. During the first two years of implementation, hospital admissions due to heart attack declined by 6.8 percent and monthly hospital admissions due to stroke declined by 2.8 percent.


Taking action against smoking-related heart disease works. The Oregon Tobacco Quit Line provides counseling, medication and Quit Guides to all Oregonians, regardless of income or insurance status. Statistics show that smokers are two to three times more likely to quit if they request help from the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line.


Coaches at the Quit Line are available over the phone and online 24 hours a day, seven days a week in more than 170 languages. Smokers interested in quitting can call the Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-7848-669); 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335356-92) or for more information.

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