Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Be Part of the Chicago Pedestrian Plan

Chicago's pedestrian experience is one of the reasons that the city is such a great place to live, work, and play. To help ensure that Chicago continues to be a great city for pedestrians, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), in coordination with the Mayor's Pedestrian Advisory Council (MPAC), is currently working on the Chicago Pedestrian Plan. The Pedestrian Plan will identify new opportunities and ongoing initiatives that will strengthen Chicago's already robust pedestrian environment.

Public meetings will be held across Chicago this summer for the Pedestrian Plan. Each meeting will feature a short presentation from CDOT and an open house with representatives from CDOT and other agencies and groups that work on pedestrian issues. The open house will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about much of the pedestrian-related work that is taking place in Chicago and provide input on how the pedestrian experience in Chicago could be improved.

Come share your ideas on how to make Chicago a great city for pedestrians at one of the following meetings:

June 29
Kennedy-King College
The Great Hall, 740 W. 63rd St., Chicago
6 - 8 p.m.

July 13
Austin Town Hall
Auditorium, 5610 W. Lake St., Chicago
6 - 8 p.m.

July 27
Rainbow Beach Field House
Gymnasium, Enter from 75th St. or 79th St., 3111 E. 77th St., Chicago
6 - 8 p.m.

August 10
Truman College
Cafeteria, 1145 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago
6 - 8 p.m.

For more information, visit

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FDA Announces Final Cigarette Health Warnings

From the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Food and Drug Administration:
This morning, the FDA announced the nine cigarette health warnings required to appear on every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States and in every cigarette advertisement. This bold measure is aimed at making sure that every American understands the dangers of smoking.
The warnings represent the most significant changes to cigarette labels in more than 25 years and will affect everything from packaging to advertisements. Manufacturers are required to place them on all cigarette packs, cartons and ads by no later than September 2012.

Each warning is accompanied by the phone number 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a smoking cessation resource, so it will be seen at the time it is most relevant to smokers, increasing the likelihood that smokers who want to quit will be successful. Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States, responsible for 443,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It costs our economy nearly $200 billion every year in medical care and lost productivity.

The introduction of these warnings is expected to have a significant public health impact by decreasing the number of smokers - resulting in lives saved, increased life expectancy and improved health status.

» Watch the event live at 11:30pm CT and 12:30pm CT at
» Tweet at the Twitter Town Hall with Dr. Howard Koh, the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS, and Dr. Lawrence Deyton, Director of the Center for Tobacco Products @FDATobacco at 2:30 PM
To participate and ask questions, simply follow along at the hashtag
#cigwarnings and make sure to tag your Twitter questions with

For More Information
» Visit FDA's Cigarette Health Warning Webpage
» Read the Press Release
» Read the Frequently Asked Questions
» Read the Consumer Update

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown Praises New Graphic Warning Labels

June 21, 2011

New cigarette warning labels unveiled today by the Food and Drug Administration will help give us the momentum needed to eradicate tobacco use in our nation. For the first time in 25 years, cigarette warning labels have been dramatically altered to graphically demonstrate the specific, serious health risks associated with smoking and these warnings will not only tell smokers how bad tobacco use is, but also direct them to smoking cessation resources that can help them quit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 45 million Americans smoke cigarettes, about 20 percent of the population, and one in five high school students still smoke. The new health warnings represent an aggressive and welcome approach to reducing smoking rates that have leveled off in recent years as tobacco companies continue to launch campaigns to entice new smokers and maintain current customers.

The American Heart Association strongly believes that the graphic depictions of smoking-related diseases on cigarette packages will drive home the message that tobacco use is an equal opportunity killer, affecting smokers and nonsmokers alike. In the U.S., about one-third of smoking-related deaths are linked to heart disease and stroke. Cigarette smoking causes about 443, 000 premature deaths each year and about 49, 000 of these deaths are due to secondhand smoke. Undoubtedly, the new graphic health warnings will heighten awareness about the dangers of smoking and more importantly, encourage smokers to quit and discourage smoking initiation. We’re confident that the new labels will move us closer to our goal of making the nation 100 percent smoke-free.

For more information, visit

Friday, June 17, 2011

Joint Commission - Smokefree Hospital Toolkit

The Joint Commission has released a Smokefree Hospital Toolkit which could be a useful resource for hospitals in your area.

Please click here to download the kit or