February is American Heart Month—a great time to quit vaping, smoking, or other tobacco products, according to Gándara Center, the host agency for the Hampden County Tobacco Free Community Partnership (TFCP).

Smoking can lead to narrowing blood vessels and high blood pressure; it is a leading cause of heart disease. “Vaping is still fairly new and less is known about its effect on the heart,” says TFCP Director Sara Moriarty. “However, the American Heart Association reports that two new studies find that vaping may be just as dangerous by increasing heart disease risk factors.”

So, for American Heart Month, make a resolution for a healthier life for you and your family. If you vape, smoke or use other tobacco products, quitting is the most important step you can take to protect your health.

“If you want to quit and tried in the past, don’t give up,” said Moriarty. “It often takes several tries before you quit for good. However, with planning and support, you can become tobacco-free.”

Vapers, smokers and other tobacco product users can call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free coaching through phone, e-chat, and text 24 hours each day, seven days a week or you can find helpful information and enroll online through KeepTryingMA.org.

Quitting smoking can be hard—here are five ways to make it easier:

  1. Set a quit date. Choose a quit day this month. Give yourself about two weeks to prepare.
  2. Tell your family and friends you plan to quit. Share your quit date with important people and ask for their support. Daily encouragement and planned activities can help you stay on track. For example, a smoke-free lunch date or game night could help distract you.
  3. Anticipate and plan for challenges. The urge to vape or smoke is short—usually only three to five minutes. Those moments can feel intense. Before your quit date, write down healthy ways to cope with cravings so you can get past them.

Healthy choices include:

  • Drinking water
  • Taking a walk or climbing the stairs
  • Calling or texting a friend
  1. Remove cigarettes, vape products and other tobacco from your daily routine. Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, or vaping devices. Clean your car and home. Old smoke or vape odors can cause cravings.
  2. Talk to your doctor about quit medications. Over-the-counter or prescription medicines can help you quit for good. Your quit coach and pharmacist can also provide guidance. Again, for more information, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit KeepTryingMA.org

“Make the choice to quit today, making this the beginning of a smoke-free and healthier you,” said Moriarty.