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!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quit smoking now, save more than money

On June 24th, cigarettes will cost an extra dollar per pack in Illinois due to the recently-enacted increase in the state tax. Taxes on other tobacco products will go up a week later. We know this is bad news for smokers. In fact, we’re counting on it! This gives us an opportunity to remind smokers that now is a perfect time to quit. If you continue to smoke, not only will tobacco cost you more money, it is likely that it will disable and/or kill you. That’s the real cost of tobacco use. Is that a price you and your family are ready to pay?

Kathleen L. Grady, PhD, APN, FAAN
American Heart Association Illinois Advocacy Committee Chair

Looking for help to quit smoking?  Check out the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

American Heart Association Statement: Gov. Quinn Signs Cigarette Tax into Law

Below is a statement from Kathleen L. Grady, PhD, APN, FAAN, Illinois Advocacy Committee Chair for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association:

“The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association thank Gov. Pat Quinn for signing SB 2194, which increases the cigarette tax by $1 per pack as part of package to restructure and rescue Medicaid, into law today. We salute the governor’s leadership and support for the cigarette tax throughout this process, and we applaud both Gov. Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly for making this critical legislation a reality.

“The cigarette tax increase benefits the state’s taxpayers in numerous ways, most notably by bringing in over $700 million in much-needed annual revenue for the state to shore up Medicaid. At the same time the tax would encourage nearly 60,000 current smokers in the state to quit the habit, thus preventing more than 50,000 smoking-related deaths in Illinois. The drop in smokers would lower the cost of health care services for tobacco-related health problems and ease the financial strain on Medicaid, and our taxpayers, even more.

“Concern still lingers about some of the drastic cuts to the Medicaid program, but we know that the cuts would have been gravely worse without a cigarette tax hike and the subsequent revenue that the tax increase would bring in. There is no doubt that this is the most acceptable revenue option available in keeping Medicaid from complete collapse.

“We stand with Gov. Quinn as he signs this bill into law, thus saving Medicaid and putting the health of our citizens first. We ask that other organizations stand by this new law that both Medicaid and tens of thousands of lives in Illinois.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why the Obesity Epidemic is Growing

Check out this clip from MSNBC's Morning Joe on the growing childhood obesity epidemic:

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