Wallace Radtke, Fargo, letter: Anti-tobacco work makes a huge differenceIn honor of American Heart Month, I’d like to remind people of the ways North Dakota’s Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy has improved our state’s heart health.
By: Wallace Radtke,
FARGO — In honor of American Heart Month, I’d like to remind people of the ways North Dakota’s Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy has improved our state’s heart health.
North Dakota now has seven communities with smoke-free ordinances that prevent workers from exposure to secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces, with more on the way. There also are 102 school districts with comprehensive tobacco-free policies that protect students, faculty, staff and visitors from secondhand smoke.
I can’t stress enough how important this is for North Dakotans’ health.
A recent study by the Mayo Clinic shows that smoke-free ordinances save lives by reducing heart attacks by 45 percent and sudden cardiac deaths by 50 percent. According to the study, adult smoking rates dropped by 23 percent while other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity increased or remained the same.
The study proves that reducing people’s exposure to secondhand smoke is a key factor in improving cardiac health.
Tobacco prevention saves lives. It is the key to managing chronic disease: By reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, we improve respiratory health and prevent many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and more.
Right now, 37 percent of North Dakotans are protected by smoke-free ordinances; and while that’s good news, our work isn’t finished. Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the state, so we must continue to educate.
It’s vital to the state’s that we continue funding North Dakota’s tobacco prevention program at the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
Dr. Radtke is a cardiologist with Sanford Health in Fargo.