February is American Heart Month, which is an annual event that focuses on helping all Americans achieve better heart health. There are many things you can do to help your heart, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising, and getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked on a regular basis. Another important thing you can do to help your heart is to never start using tobacco products, or if you do, quit.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death among Indiana residents. In 2017, over 14,400

Hoosiers died of heart disease. Based on the most recent data, Daviess County ranks higher than the Indiana state average of cardiovascular deaths annually, with 257 deaths per 100,000 residents.

There is good news – it’s never too late to quit smoking. Within 20 minutes of not smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure decrease to normal. Within 24 hours your chance of heart attack decreases. What do you have to lose?

If you use tobacco products and are ready to quit, you can get free assistance from the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit QuitNowIndiana.com for more information. For more on local tobacco prevention and control efforts, visit Daviess County Tobacco-Free Coalition on Facebook.

Molly Healy is the Daviess County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation coordinator.

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