Stroke is no joke; quitting smoking can help

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Stroke is one of the top five killers in Mississippi, claiming about 1,500 residents each year, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes clogged or bursts.

Importantly, the signs of a stroke appear only when the stroke is happening. There are no warning signs before the event.

Spot the signs of stroke — numbness, confusion, blurred vision, loss of balance, and headache.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“You are a risk for stroke if you smoke,” said Tiffany Johnson, interim director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health. “Tobacco use increases the risk of blood clots which cause stroke.”

According to MSDH, stroke rates are among the highest in black men and women. Family history of stroke and advanced age also put Mississippians at higher risk.

“Strokes can be prevented,” said Falana McDaniel, director of Copiah and Lincoln Counties’ Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition. “Quitting smoking and staying tobacco-free is the first step. Our MTFC goal is to provide Mississippi with the education and resources needed to get and stay healthy.”

Knowing your blood pressure numbers, staying active, and staying smoke-free will reduce your stroke risk. You can check your blood pressure for free at all county health departments and fire stations. For a list of county health departments, visit

MSDH offers free, live coaching for those who want to quit smoking. Call the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. For information on the health dangers of tobacco products, visit