Health Watch - Heart Health: Social Smoking

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about how to keep your heart healthy, in honor of National Heart Month. You may not consider yourself a smoker if you only smoke the occasional cigarette when you’re with friends, but you could still be damaging your heart.

Dr. Jarett Berry, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says research has consistently shown that even an occasional cigarette raises your risk for heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. In fact, you don’t even have to smoke to be at risk if you’re often exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke. While smoking rates are on the decline, doctors are concerned about a growing number of young adults who consider themselves “casual” or “social” smokers because they only smoke in certain circumstances. To really protect your health, it’s important not to smoke at all and to avoid being exposed to cigarette smoke.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in heart, lung and vascular.


February 2009

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