From the Health Team and our partners are University Hospital, smoking and cardiovascular disease often go hand in hand. And that's mainly because of the effects of smoking on your heart. The American Heart Association says cigarette smoking accounts for nearly 440,000 deaths a year.
Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes, increases blood pressure and the chance of blood clots. A new study from Colorado is showing some promise for healthier cities across the nation.
Cheryl Wheeler, Coordinator of the Cancer Registry at University Hospital says, "We're seeing increasing numbers of cities and states that are increasing smoke free ordinances. Smoke-free ordinances are having an impact on heart disease and hopefully we'll see that in cancer as well."
Georgia started its smoke-free ordinance in 2004, and University Hospital recently set up a smoking ban, as did the Richmond County Board of Education. Incidentally, smoking risks are relatively greater for people under 50 than those over 50. Women who smoke and take birth control also increase their risk of coronary heart disease. People who smoke also may have less tolerance for exercise and a decrease in the good cholesterol, HDL.