Heart disease top killer in Mississippi

Published 3:17 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2022

In 2020 more Mississippians died of heart disease than cancer and diabetes combined. Smoking, in any amount contributes to heart disease by making the blood sticky, which restricts the flow to and from your heart, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

A CDC promotion illustrates the dangers of heart disease. Tonya M., now age 49, had to have major surgery when she was diagnosed with heart failure at just 38 years old. While waiting for a transplant, a mechanical heart pump was inserted in her chest. This device continuously moves blood through Tonya’s body. “Because I smoked, I have heart failure. I had to have open heart surgery, and a battery-operated heart pump installed inside of me to keep me alive. At night, I have to plug myself into the wall to keep the pump working. My tip is, try not to be a restless sleeper. Because if you’re not plugged in, you don’t have very long to live.”

Mississippi has the fifth highest rate of smoking in the nation and the highest rate of heart disease mortality reports Amy Winter, the Director of the Office of Tobacco control at MSDH.

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“Through the Ready. Set. Quit program the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health stands ready to serve Mississippians who want to quit,” said Peggy Jones, Director of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Jefferson Davis County. “We can provide you with the tools and support you need to find success. We are here to help you quit, and to help you stay smoke free.”

For information about the dangers of cigarettes, visit www.healthyms.com/tobacco. For help with quitting visit www.quitlinems.com, or call the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at