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Last year in the United States, even though COVID-19 deaths made most of the headlines, heart disease was still a leading cause of death. The most common kind was CHD or coronary heart disease. This disease is also commonly referred to as coronary artery disease. There are some groups of individuals that are more prone to death from this particular disease than others. For instance, African Americans are more prone to death from it than their white counterparts. The main underlying factor is the differences in health complications that impact blood vessels and the heart, like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The Jackson Heart Study has come up with new findings that provide information on what role smoking plays in all this.

How Is Smoking Harmful?

Smoking can certainly help cause cardiovascular disease, and it’s a well-established risk for that matter. This is because it disrupts blood vessel lining, inflammation, and imbalances the factors that help regulate oxygen levels, which can, in turn, narrow the body’s arteries via plaque deposits.

A survey conducted in 2019 showed that almost 15% of the African American population said that they smoked cigarettes that had tobacco in them. Another 4% said they use e-cigarettes. Research shows that this group of people not only smoke for longer, but they also take a longer time to quit than their white counterparts—unfortunately, research analyzing the link between CHD and cigarette smoking in African American people.

The Jackson Heart Study

This prospective cohort study started in 1998 and followed participants both at risk of suffering heart disease and those without for some time, monitoring their hearts for disease occurrence. Using the information collected from annual phone interviews and in-person examinations, the study authors followed roughly 5300 African Americans residing in three locations within Jackson, Mississippi. The study authors’ main goal was to find and analyze heart disease risk factors among this specific group of people. Outreach efforts and community education based on such data could help decrease the prevalence of this illness in the future.