Heart Health. An In Great Health eNewsletter from Avera.
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Thank you for subscribing to Heart Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cardiac care and prevention. We believe a healthy lifestyle starts with a strong heart. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit www.Avera.org.

To your health,

The Avera Staff


If you are a smoker, quitting the habit can help reduce your risk for heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure. There are many aids to help smokers quit, and lately many patients who want to quit have asked about Chantix, a new tobacco-cessation medication.

"Chantix is a prescription drug that blocks nicotine receptors in the brain to keep people from craving cigarettes," says Deb Murray, respiratory care practitioner and tobacco cessation coach at Avera Heart Hospital. It differs from nicotine patches, lozenges or gum, which still provide nicotine, but in gradually lessening amounts.

"If a person on Chantix does have a cigarette, the drug can greatly diminish the feelings of pleasure and excitement that people usually feel when smoking," Deb adds.

Chantix does have side effects, so discuss those with your doctor. Tobacco-cessation medications such as Chantix should be used only temporarily. "If you are still using them after six to 12 weeks, you should re-evaluate your plan," Deb remarks.

When you're thinking about quitting tobacco, take some important steps. "Make the commitment that you want to start this process," Deb says. "Learn your options and educate yourself. When you have a plan, you will be better prepared when fighting tobacco addiction."

To learn more about resources and support for tobacco cessation, call the Avera Heart Hospital's Quit for Good Program at (605) 977-7000.

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Avera health care providers don't just recommend a smoke-free environment - they also work in one. Avera hospitals and clinics are smoke-free. For the health of yourself, your family and friends, set a goal to make your home, workplace and recreational areas free of cigarette smoke.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of heart disease, and even secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths from heart disease every year, according to the American Heart Association. Here are some tips to make your life as smoke-free as possible:

  • Don't smoke in your house or permit others to do so.
  • Do not smoke if children are present, particularly infants and toddlers. They are particularly susceptible to the effects of passive smoke.
  • Find out about the smoking policies of the daycare providers, preschools, schools and other caregivers for your children.
  • If your workplace has a designated smoking area, nonsmokers should not have to use the smoking area for any purpose.
  • If your community does not have a smoking-control ordinance, urge that one be enacted. If your local ordinances are not sufficiently protective, urge your local government officials to take action.

Click here for more ideas to create smoke-free spaces.

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Heart Health is one in a series of In Great Health™ eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.