Kick the habit to be heart-healthy

November 17, 2011 5:41 AM

Kirby Messinger

You may think you’re doing a lot to be healthy — eating the right food, watching your weight, exercising — but if you’re still smoking, think again. Cardiologist Dr. Mark Cassidy says that smoking is a major risk factor for heart and vascular disease.

Great American Smokeout

Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

He says that the effects of smoking negate “healthy lifestyle” practices, such as exercising. “It’s literally like pouring gasoline on a fire,” says Cassidy, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Tulane University School of Medicine.

According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Statistics indicate that tobacco use is linked to one in five deaths.

The first step to a healthy heart is quitting smoking, Cassidy says. The Tulane Center for Wellness and Health Promotion (theWell) offers individual and group cessation programs. Group leaders work with attendees to develop an individualized program that aims at living a tobacco-free life.

In support of tobacco-free living and a smoke-free campus, the Student Health Center and theWell are hosting an event in conjunction with the 36th Great American Smokeout today (Nov. 17) on the Tulane uptown campus. At the event on the Student Health Center lawn from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., participants can enjoy a free hotdog or a veggie burger and receive information about how to quit smoking.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000