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Go Red for Women's Heart Health: Stats and facts about a ‘killer’

Hayli Eiesland researches and compiles facts and stats about the dangers of smoking that she disseminates to area residents.

Photo by RaeLynn Ricarte
Hayli Eiesland researches and compiles facts and stats about the dangers of smoking that she disseminates to area residents.

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Area residents are invited to attend the free heart health expo on Friday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second floor of Water’s Edge, 551 Lone Pine Boulevard.

A Walk & Talk about Heart Health takes place from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and a jeopardy game about the subject from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Health screenings will be available and information provided on nutrition, exercise and stress reduction. Prizes and drawings are planned and experts will be on hand to answer questions.

The Bistro deli will serve a soup and roll special for $3.

On Saturday, The Heart Truth 3k/5k/10k run/walk takes place. Onsite registration at Kiwanis Pocket Park, 3641 Klindt Drive, begins at 9:30 a.m. and kickoff is at 10 a.m.

For more information, or to register, visit All proceeds benefit the Mid-Columbia Health Foundation Cardiac Rehab Assistance Fund.

The annual program is sponsored by Mid-Columbia Medical Center in partnership with Planetree Health Resource Center, North Central Public Health District and Water’s Edge.

­­Hayli Eiesland is armed with dozens of facts and stats about why people should quit smoking for heart health and to prevent other major illnesses.

She plans to share some of her information at the Go Red for Women’s Heart Health expo on Friday, Feb. 3, on the second floor of Water’s Edge, 551 Lone Pine Boulevard in The Dalles.

People from around the region are invited to the expo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eiesland will be one of the presenters in her role as tobacco prevention and education coordinator for the North Central Public Health District, which serves Wasco, Gilliam and Sherman counties.

Most of Eiesland’s statistics are grim, including estimates that $12.1 million in productivity is lost each year in the district due to premature tobacco-related deaths.

In addition, $15.2 million is spent annually on tobacco-related medical care.

There are an estimated 4,200 adults who regularly smoke cigarettes in the district, or about 14.2 percent of the population of 29,500, and 1,485 of these smokers have a serious illness caused by their addiction.

At the state and national levels, cigarette smoking accounts for about one-fifth of all deaths from heart disease.

Smokers have a 70 percent higher death rate from coronary artery disease than nonsmokers, because tobacco use is a major cause of atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty substances in the arteries that causes them to clog up.

Smoking also decreases the flow of oxygen to the heart and other tissues in the body and increases both blood pressure and heart rate. And there are many other life-threatening illnesses caused by tobacco use, said Eiesland.

In fact, she said smoking is the number one cause of preventable death, accounting for 440,000 of 2.4 million deaths annually.

About 37,000 to 40,000 people die every year from heart and blood vessel disease that is caused by other people’s smoke — another reason that people should quit, said Eiesland.

“This is a true addiction and I don’t think that people who aren’t smokers really understand that,” she said. She said nicotine is so addictive that it takes an average of seven attempts before a smoker can finally kick the addiction.

On the local level, she wants the Quit Line number, 1-800-784-8669, posted anywhere there are no-smoking signs.

Eiesland and other health officials are also pushing to get local governments, and the state, to require licensing for tobacco products, something already required for alcohol and marijuana sales.

That would allow requirements to be put in place about where tobacco products could be displayed in stores. Eiesland said colorful packages are at the eye level of children and look like candy.

That is especially true for e-cigarettes, which have become very popular among teens due to a diversity of flavors. Studies show that youth seem to be abandoning traditional cigarettes for equally harmful “vaping” practices, said Eiesland.

“It’s really alarming. We’d really like our elected officials to do something to protect our youth from these products,” she said.

She said Mid-Columbia Medical Center has a smoke-free campus and tobacco use is not allowed on Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District properties. The health district wants to see all businesses and public agencies follow these models and prohibit tobacco use.

“There’s just nothing about it that’s good,” said Eiesland.

The health district also supports raising the legal age for purchase of tobacco products to 21, the same as required for liquor and marijuana. A bill to that effect will be introduced in the Legislature next week.

Eiesland is willing to speak to any organization that wants more information and keeps educational resources on hand.

She can be reached at or via phone at 541-296-7536.


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