By Shiwani Mahajan
History has seen smoking transform from a symbol of wealth, to a fashion statement, and finally to a killer. The harmful effects of smoking are well known and the campaign against it is strong now.
It’s true that smoking causes lung cancer, but did you know that smoking is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition that leads to heart attacks? Smoking attacks your heart and blood vessels in complex and vicious ways. A recent study, out of Harvard Medical School, shows how even significant and contemporary improvements in heart disease prevention, such as gains in blood pressure and cholesterol treatment, have not attenuated the strong and persistent associations between smoking and heart attacks.
Smoking is harmful not just to yourself but to others around you. Passive smoking is a major cause for heart and lung related diseases in children. Smoking is an expensive vice, with both short-term and long-term blows to your financial health. A recent study predicated a $500 million cost aversion by reducing smoking in just federal employees across the country.
Quitting smoking isn’t such an easy task. While good things come in pairs, bad things often rain down like ashes (pun intended). Smoking similarly is associated with higher rates of alcoholism and other drug use. Your smoking habit may actually be making you more vulnerable to even more dangerous addictions.
Nicotine patches, gums, etc. have proven to be quite beneficial in tackling the habit of smoking. You should know that there is no shame in seeking professional help, but rather it’s a sign of strength! Your doctor can help you fight this problem off better while helping you recognize any harm that may have already been done. By the way, electronic cigarettes have been proven to be equally harmful, regardless of their appearance.
With 2018 here, it’s time to make a resolution to let go of this socially acceptable act of decadence and to give your heart the best holiday present.
If you have questions about your heart health, click here to ask us. Happy New Year!
Shiwani Mahajan, MBBS is a post-graduate associate at Yale School of Medicine in the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation.