OLEAN, N.Y. - The Tobacco Cessation Center at Southern Tier Health Care System is urging smokers to love their hearts and quit smoking this Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day is a day for people to celebrate those in their life they love. It's also the perfect day for people to give themselves, their heart and their loved ones the gift of going smoke-free.
Smoking rates have decreased over the last few years, however smoking continues to be the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., killing over 25,000 New Yorkers each year.
According to the American Heart Association, smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease including stroke and peripheral artery disease. Smoking also robs people of some of their good cholesterol, temporarily raises their blood pressure, increases the blood's clotting likelihood and makes it more difficult to exercise.
There is good news. The body starts to repair itself almost immediately after quitting smoking. In fact, one year after quitting smoking, a person's risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by 50 percent.
Quitting smoking is also a loving gift for children and loved ones who will no longer be exposed to second-hand smoke. People are encouraged to quit smoking on Valentine's Day for them, their heart and the ones they love.
For a free personalized quit plan, call the New York State Smokers Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit www.nysmokefree.com. During the month of February, callers to the quitline will receive an American Heart Association red dress pin or red bracelet in recognition of Heart Health Month.
Ask a doctor about how to quit and set the date to be tobacco free on Valentine's Day. For more information about the Tobacco Cessation Center at Southern Tier Health Care System, visit www.sthcs.org or call Tobacco Cessation Center coordinator Erica Sebastian at 372-0614.