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 Breathe Easier on World No Tobacco Day, May 31

May 24, 2012   Contact: Sue Crosson-Knutson    312-334-2311
CHICAGO - Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death. Smoking contributes to cancer, vascular disease, stroke, and lung disease. Back in 1987, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated May 31 as World No Tobacco Day. 

“As a vascular surgeon, I’ve seen the damage done to veins and arteries from tobacco use,” said Dr. Steven Leers, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®. “Nicotine speeds up the heart, raises blood pressure, constricts arteries, and causes the body to release fat and cholesterol into the blood. All of these are related to vascular disease.”

Smoking accelerates the hardening and narrowing of arteries. Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop blood clots.

Nearly six million people die every year from tobacco use according to WHO. Of these, more than 600,000 persons die from second-hand smoke.

In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for 443,000 deaths each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers.

“The good news is that within 48 hours of quitting smoking, health benefits begin,” said Dr. Leers. “Blood pressure decreases. Pulse rate drops. The body temperature of hands and feet increases. Carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal. The chance of a heart attack decreases. Nerve endings regrow. There’s an increase in the ability to taste and smell.”

For information on smoking and vascular disease, view the flier on the website:

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About the Society for Vascular Surgery®

The Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) is a not-for-profit professional medical society, composed primarily of vascular surgeons, that seeks to advance excellence and innovation in vascular health through education, advocacy, research, and public awareness. SVS is the national advocate for 3,750 specialty-trained vascular surgeons and other medical professionals who are dedicated to the prevention and cure of vascular disease. Visit its Web site at®. Follow SVS on Twitter and Facebook.

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