As a member of the Southwest Alliance for Tobacco Prevention, I want to highlight that Sept. 29 was World Heart Day. This is a day to highlight the impacts that heart disease has on our community and promote ways that people can improve heart health.

One of the best ways that people can have a healthy heart and improve their overall health is to quit smoking and vaping nicotine products.

An individual’s body can start the process of healing relatively quickly once they quit. According to the American Heart Association, just a year or two after quitting tobacco use, a person’s risk of heart attack is dramatically reduced. And 15 years after quitting, their risk of coronary heart disease is close to the same level as a nonsmoker.

There are so many other great reasons to quit: better lung health, saving money and more time to spend with family and friends. People who have quit have reported feeling an improvement in their physical appearance, oral health and skin. In addition, after quitting the body’s immune system has improved resilience against getting sick.

There is help for those that want to quit use of nicotine. Help is available by calling the Wisconsin Tobacco Quitline at 800-Quit Now (784-8669). Medicaid enrollees should talk to their doctor about quitting assistance that is available through the Medicaid cessation benefit. There is also help specifically for teens wanting to quit. Text VAPEFREE to 873373 for free help.

JAIME BATZ, RN

Monroe

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