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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 6, 2004

Quit Smoking For A Healthier Heart This Valentine's Day

When you give someone your heart this Valentine's Day, make it a healthier heart by quitting smoking with the help of Quitline Iowa, the statewide toll-free smoking cessation hotline.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 33 percent of deaths due to smoking in the United States are cardiovascular-related.

"Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance and increases the tendency for blood to clot, directly leading to heart attacks and strokes," noted Dr. Catherine Pesek-Bird, D.O., assistant professor (clinical) of internal medicine in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and a cardiovascular diseases specialist at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The risk of death from coronary heart disease also increases by up to 30 percent for people exposed to second-hand or environmental tobacco smoke, according to the American Heart Association.

Iowans can access Quitline Iowa at (866) U-CAN-TRY (866-822-6879). This service is available 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, with counseling available in most languages, including English and Spanish. Quitline Iowa also provides TDD services to the hearing-impaired (866-822-2857).

"Research shows that a person who receives phone counseling during the quitting process is twice as likely to stay smoke-free as someone who tries to quit on their own," said John Lowe, Dr.P.H., professor and head of community and behavioral health in the UI College of Public Health.

Staffed by trained counselors from the Iowa Tobacco Research Center (ITRC), Quitline Iowa offers callers state-of-the-art cessation services over the phone. In the initial call to the Quitline, a counselor helps determine the best method for a smoker to quit, assists in developing an individualized quit plan and provides follow-up calls for ongoing support. Callers can also request free materials to be sent by mail, or referrals to smoking cessation resources in their community, including support groups, clinics and consultants.

If a smoker is not ready to call, Quitline Iowa provides resources through their Web site at Visitors can use the smoking cost calculator to see the impact their habit has on their wallet, request information to be received by mail, download materials to use on their own and e-mail questions to a Quitline Iowa counselor through the "Ask-A-Counselor" feature.

Quitline Iowa is a service provided by the Iowa Tobacco Research Center, part of the in the UI College of Public Health Department of Community and Behavioral Health. Quitline Iowa is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Media: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Program: Esther Baker, Iowa Tobacco Research Center, 319-384-4845, Writer: Esther Baker.