Mahaska Health Partnership Cautions Tobacco Use

Mahaska Health Partnership

Mahaska Health Partnership

MAHASKA COUNTY – With all of the new tobacco consumption methods available, there are misconceptions that some forms are safer than others. Mahaska Health Partnership Family Nurse Practitioner Chris Beaird, ARNP-BC, explains different types of tobacco use and the associated dangers.

No matter what form of tobacco you use, no amount is safe for consumption. “Smoking cigarettes, vaping or e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah are all putting tobacco into your body and affecting your lungs,” Beaird explained. “While some may have higher tobacco content than others, any use of these items puts your health at risk.

“Smokeless versions, such as chewing tobacco, are also unsafe for your body,” Beaird continued. “People think since it’s not in smoke form, it’s not as dangerous. However, chewing tobacco can still cause addiction, cancers of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas, increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, as well as pregnancy complications.”

When it comes to tobacco use, no matter how you ingest it, the health risks are the same. “There is no safe form of tobacco available,” Beaird shared. “Light or low-tar cigarettes, along with the hand-rolled, natural and herbal options lead people to believe they are not as harmful, but they can still cause serious health concerns. In fact, some of these ‘healthier’ options have the same amount or even higher risk of complications as a regular cigarette.”

There is also a lot of misinformation about hookahs and vaping. “People think that the water in hookahs filters out toxins, but that’s a myth,” Beaird said. “In fact, the smoke contains toxins like carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar and heavy metals in equal or even higher concentrations than regular cigarettes. People frequently smoke more at one time than they would with regular cigarettes, so the amount of exposure is also greater.”

“Vaping, or e-cigarettes, are often misconstrued as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes or cigars and seen as a tool to quit smoking traditional cigarettes,” Beaird continued. “However, people often end up using this technique more frequently as it is allowed in non-smoking areas, defeating the purpose. They also release known toxins like formaldehyde when lit. Since these products are not regulated and there’s not much known about the long-term effects, it’s best to avoid them altogether.”

For those looking to break their nicotine addiction, there are safer options available. “The minute you quit, your health will start to improve,” Beaird encouraged. “Whether you’ve been smoking for a few weeks or 30 years, it’s never too late. Share your goals with family and friends and look to them for support. Work closely with your primary care provider to monitor your health too. You can also call 1.800.QUIT NOW for free phone and online support.”

Family Nurse Practitioner Chris Beaird, ARNP-BC, has had a passion for caring for people and helping make their days better. Throughout her career, Chris has worked in a variety of roles; giving her a broad understanding of her patient’s needs. She feels privileged to provide primary care and is particularly interested in treating acute diagnosis and treatment needs. In her free time, Chris enjoys spending time on the beach in Florida and tending to her flower and vegetable gardens. To schedule an appointment with Chris Beaird, call 641.672.3360.

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit



Posted by on Aug 4 2017. Filed under Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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