Why Heart Patients Should Kick Butts. Part 5

“Smoking is highly addictive, and quitting is very difficult,” said David J. Cohen, M.D., M.Sc., associate director of interventional cardiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard University in Boston.

Cohen recently completed a study, published in the Sept. 18 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, that found people who continue to smoke after undergoing balloon angioplasty or other procedures to open blocked heart arteries have a lower quality of life than nonsmokers and quitters.

“A number of drugs, along with behavior modification therapy, have been shown to help patients quit, and we need to put more emphasis on these,” Cohen said. “But, the first step has to be a sincere desire to quit on the part of the patient.”

The fact that quitting smoking is tough shouldn’t deter you, though. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are plenty of reasons to give your heart a break:

  • You will live longer and better.
  • Quitting will lower your chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
  • Quitting will lower your chance of having a second bypass operation or angioplasty procedure.
  • If you are pregnant, quitting smoking will improve your chances of having a healthy baby.
  • The people you live with — especially your children — will be healthier.
  • You will have extra money to spend on things other than cigarettes.

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