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Women’s Heart Health and Smoking

You probably already know that smoking can cause lung cancer. But maybe you haven’t heard that smokers are two to six times as likely as nonsmokers to develop heart disease-and four times as likely to die from it.

Why you should quit now

Have you smoked for most of your life? Quitting now can keep your heart safe from further damage. Plus, your risk for stroke, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases will decrease. And if you now smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, you’ll save more than $25,000 in ten years if you kick the habit today.

Quitting cigarettes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll gain weight. At most, studies say, you’ll gain only five to ten pounds. Exercising regularly not only improves your health but also keeps the weight off.

You might think that cigarettes with low levels of tar and nicotine are "safer" than regular cigarettes-but they certainly won’t protect your heart. So break the habit and keep your heart healthy. Below are tips to help you.

Tips to help you kick the habit

  • Pick a day to quit-and stick to it.
  • Talk with your doctor about your decision to quit.
  • Establish a support network of friends and family.
  • Find a smoking-cessation support group or a chat room online.
  • Use a nicotine patch or nicotine gum to curb your cigarette cravings.
  • Keep your hands busy-scribble, knit, write, draw and so on.
  • Be sure to brush your teeth first thing in the morning and after every meal.
  • Cut yourself some slack. If you fall off the wagon and have a smoke or two, you’re not the only one. But don’t give up-get back on track.

Don’t smoke? Secondhand smoke can harm you too

Medical research shows that smoke from other people’s cigarettes can damage your heart. In fact, a study published in the journal Circulation shows that, if a woman is consistently exposed to secondhand smoke, her risk for a heart attack more than doubles.

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