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Tobacco and the Epidemic of Heart Disease in Pakistan

Dr. Mudassar Khokhar

1 min read

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The use of tobacco has emerged as a serious health concern and has become an epidemic in the last decade. According to WHO, tobacco kills nearly 6 million people every year, of which 100,000 deaths occur in Pakistan. A startling number of 600,000 die from passive smoking (inhaling smoke exhaled by other smokers) of the 6 million deaths worldwide.

The world ‘No Tobacco Day’ is observed annually on May 31st to spread awareness about the negative health impacts of tobacco. Health experts say that a staggering two in five smokers start smoking before reaching the age of 10. The saddening stats go on to reveal that around 40% of adult men are smokers whereas 9% of women smoke, and these numbers are increasing everyday.

The rampant use of tobacco products such as cigarettes, water-pipe tobacco and other tobacco products compounds this public health problem. As tobacco becomes more cost-effective and accessible, its health consequences seem to become more prevalent as well. 288 people die in Pakistan everyday due to a tobacco-related heart disease. Unhealthy lifestyle choices, which has massive cigarette consumption at the top of the list kills around 12 Pakistanis around an hour making cardiovascular disease the leading non-communicable disease in the country.

So, it’s fitting that the theme of this year’s no-tobacco day would be “Tobacco breaks hearts; Choose health, not tobacco”. This year World No-tobacco day will focus on the effect tobacco has had on the heart health of people worldwide. Cardiovascular diseases like heart stroke,  (atherosclerosis) clogged arteries, angina, and heart attacks are all strongly correlated to smoking.

How is smoking related to heart disease?

The nicotine in smoke is a highly addictive and toxic substance that is responsible for most heart related concerns. Nicotine is one of the hardest substances to quit. The nicotine in your blood negatively affects your heart health as it,

  • Reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the heart
  • Causes blood clots, increasing the chances of heart attacks and strokes
  • Raises your blood pressure and increases your heart rate

These consequences pose a serious health concern and quitting smoking is the only way to not just add a few years to your life but to also live healthily.

Have a quit plan:

When planning to quit smoking, it helps to plan ahead. Set a “quit smoke date” so that you can adjust to the change. It’s also best to avoid your smoker peers and seek the encouragement and support of your friends and family. You could also join a support group to help ease the process along. Investing in nicotine patches and chewing gum helps keep the nicotine addiction under control until you can let go fully.

In light of the devastating effects that tobacco has had on the health and fitness of people, it is important to take steps to get rid of any tobacco related risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular diseases. Start by adopting a healthy lifestyle to take care of your heart health overall.You can also book an appointment with a top Cardiologist in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com to get your heart health examined. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your heart concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Mudassar Khokhar
Dr. Mudassar Khokhar - Author Dr. Mudassar H. Khokhar is a Cardiologist practicing in Lahore.He has MBBS, FCCP (UK), and Dip. in Cardiology alongside 35 years of experience in his domain. If you want to seek advice from him, oladoc is here to help you.

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