Typically, the harmful effects of tobacco smoke are associated with diseases and conditions that affect the lungs. Hidden behind the tobacco cloud are dangers lurking for the human heart as well.
It is possible to defeat these preventable diseases and live a healthier, normal, and productive life once tobacco use is removed from the equation. The most obvious solution to avoid heart and lung diseases caused by tobacco use is to quite smoking altogether.
If you are having trouble quitting, however, there are other ways to wean yourself off this deadly habit. Such remedies include:
1) Use a nicotine patch or chewing gum.
2) Talk to an expert.
3) Join a smoking cessation class.
4) Gradually reduce the amount of tobacco used daily.
5) Participate in a support group.
6) Eliminate underlying causes that motivate your tobacco use.
7) Replace the urge to smoke with a healthier habit, like regular exercise.
Before National American Hearth Month is over, take the challenge to help yourself or a loved one to protect their heart and lungs against the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
(Mary Simmons, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor/Director in the Division of Cardiopulmonary Sciences at the School of Allied Health Sciences at Florida A&M University. Join Simmons on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. for a live Twitter chat for expert advice on tobacco use and heart disease. Follow @ FAMU_LivingWell.)