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Tobacco breaks hearts | News, Sports, Jobs

Every year, on May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World No Tobacco Day. This day highlights health and other risks associated with tobacco use and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Each year, in March, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation publishes county health rankings showing Chautauqua County as one of the worst health classifications and, not coincidentally, among the highest rates of smokers in the entire New York State.

The goal of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is "Tobacco and heart disease." The objective of the campaign is to increase public awareness of the link between tobacco and heart and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD). including stroke, which combined are the leading causes of death in the world.

Tobacco use is an important risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Most people are very familiar with the link between tobacco use and lung cancer, but the knowledge among large segments of the public that tobacco is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease remains low. This is despite the known health harms of tobacco to heart, and the availability of solutions to reduce deaths and related diseases,

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill more people than any other cause of death in all The world, and tobacco and second-hand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 12 percent of all deaths from heart disease. Tobacco use is the second cause of CVD, after high blood pressure.

In other words, tobacco breaks hearts. Not only the literally broken hearts of the smoker and those exposed to second-hand smoke, but it breaks the hearts of family and friends who lose loved ones for tobacco-related diseases.

The global tobacco epidemic kills more than 7 million people every year, of which about 900,000 are non-smokers who die from breathing second-hand smoke. More than two million of those tobacco-related deaths come from cardiovascular diseases. Almost 80 percent of the more than one billion smokers in the world live in low and middle income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related diseases and death is heavier.

Locally, our lower-income residents are the most affected by tobacco addiction and, as a result, cardiovascular diseases. One of the most effective ways to reduce cardiovascular disease in our county is to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and prevent our young people from starting smoking.

Chautauqua County has high rates of heart attack and stroke, but it is estimated that 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented. CHQ250 is an initiative of the Chautauqua Health Action Team (CHAT), which encourages you to act to be one of at least 250 strokes, heart attacks or related deaths that are prevented in Chautauqua County next year. This column is written by CHAT members to share information that will help you do your part to live a life free of stroke or heart disease; It is not intended to replace the advice provided by your health care team. Direct your questions or comments to: activecounty@co.chautauqua.ny.us.

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