Once again, heart disease top killer in MS; smoking is major contributor

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) Office of Vital Records, in 2021, more Mississippians died of heart disease than cancer and diabetes combined. This trend has been holding steady for years. Mississippi also has some of the highest rates of smoking in the nation. Smoking cigarettes, in any amount, contributes to heart disease.

Amy Winter, the Director of the Office of Tobacco Control at MSDH, reports that African American males are disproportionately affected by heart disease as well as tobacco use. The only tobacco flavor additive allowed by the FDA is menthol which masks the harsh effects of tobacco. Additionally, menthol interacts with chemicals in the brain, making it more addictive. African Americans are among the highest number of menthol cigarette smokers in Mississippi.

“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 Falana McDaniel, Director of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Copiah and Lincoln counties. “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.”

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The Office of Tobacco Control at MSDH encourages all Mississippians to engage in heart-healthy behavior. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking will lower your risk of heart disease.

For more information, visit www.healthyms.com/tobacco. For help with quitting visit www.quitlinems.com or call the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.