Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Mississippi and the state health department is encouraging smokers to discard their cigarettes to greatly improve their chances of avoiding the medical condition.
Smoking greatly elevates one’s chances of becoming a victim of heart disease. A study from Johns Hopkins Medicine indicates that smokers are two to four times more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than non-smokers.
The Mississippi State Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records reveals that Black males have the highest rate of heart disease in the state and that Black individuals are among the highest menthol smokers in the state.
Menthol is especially dangerous, MSDH Interim Director of the Office of Tobacco Control Tiffany Johnson asserts, because the organic compound interacts with chemicals in the brain making it more addictive. She is encouraging smokers to get their blood pressure checked and to begin the process of quitting the addictive habit.
“We know that smoking is not good for your health. At MSDH we want to arm you with facts and provide you with the free support you deserve! Come to the county health department and get your blood pressure checked,” Johnson said. “At the same time, we can connect you to our Quitline.”
In addition to kicking the habit of smoking, the Office of Tobacco Control encourages all Mississippians to engage in other heart-healthy behaviors, including:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Controlling blood pressure
“Our agency offers many ways to support you in your health journey,” Patricia Taylor, the director of the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Forrest, Jones, and Perry Counties, said. “We understand the importance of meeting folks where they are. Look for us in your community. We’re here for you.”