In an effort to increase cardiovascular disease awareness and prevention, several Delaware hospitals recently posted Million Hearts billboards throughout the state. Christiana Care Health System, which designed the billboard content, posted one in Wilmington and another in Lewes. Beebe Healthcare added five more billboards to the Lewes area. Nanticoke Health Services is delivering the same message to the Seaford area. Billboards will run through March.
The billboards feature this year's Million Hearts Delaware message to quit smoking. Individuals over 18 years of age who want to quit smoking can call the Delaware Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help. "We all know that getting patients to quit smoking is important," said Wayne Smith, president and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association. "But finding the time and resources to help patients quit is another story. Hospitals invested in a marketing campaign to encourage smokers to call the Delaware Quitline. It could be the first step to saving their life."
"My vision for Million Hearts Delaware was to form a partnership across the state to spread the important news that heart disease is not just a deadly disease, but a preventable one," said Ed Goldenberg, MD, chief of Preventive Medicine for Christiana Care Health System and the founder of Million Hearts Delaware. "Today our hospital partners are empowering Delawareans to take preventive steps to improve their health so they can gain more years with their children, their parents and their families."
While the prevalence of smoking is declining in Delaware due to numerous interventions, there is still much work to be done. Close to 20 percent of Delaware's population age 18 years and older smokes. Health consequences for smokers have been well documented. Tobacco use leads to higher hospitalizations, interferes with patients' recovery, and negatively affects chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Studies have consistently shown that among cardiac patients, second heart attacks are more common in those who continue to smoke. Studies have also shown that lung, head and neck cancer patients who are successfully treated for their cancer but who continue to smoke are at elevated risk for a second cancer.
"Delaware hospitals and healthcare providers can play a critical role in preventing the health and emotional toll that tobacco use can take on individuals, families, and communities," said Alex Sydnor, vice president of external affairs for Beebe Healthcare. "Investing in tobacco cessation messages is one way a hospital can contribute to the overall health of its community."
Million Hearts Delaware is a partner of the national Million Hearts campaign. The campaign is a public-private initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. For more information about Million Hearts Delaware, go to www.millionheartsde.com.