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Having a healthy email list is very important. Using a bad one will quickly get you banned by any major Email List Manager especially if you plan on using an US based service. Plus, penalties for spamming are quite serious. But what is a healthy list?
You collected it yourself
Buying a list or using email addresses of people who have no idea who you are will do you no good. In fact, it is more beneficial for a business to do nothing then try using an email list of questionable origin. Unless you want to promote yourself as a spammer, of course. It is worth remembering that penalties are very serious.
You let people know what you intend to do
Say you collect email addresses of your clients who believe you will only use them for business purposes – contact them if there are problems with their order, clarify details, etc. They are generally OK with that. Does that mean they will be happy to receive sales and marketing emails from you? Not necessarily. How they will react? Will they be OK with it or not? If not, they may ignore your emails, unsubscribe or complain. And too many unsubscribes or complains will get you banned. End of story.
You use the list regularly
Even a good list will go stale after a while. People change email addresses, move to other jobs, etc. Using your list at least once a month will keep it healthy because a good Email List Manager will clean out bounced back email addresses.