by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM
Smoking Is A Serious Health Risk
Dr. Patrick Palomar, President, Pulmonologist Medway Polyclinic was emphatic during the Kapihan on August 24, 2013 at Payag Street Lounge that smoking is not compatible with healthy living. Nicotine and tar unduly expose the smoker and people around him including his family to a host of potential diseases as lung cancer, hypertension, emphysema, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc.
“The early stage of COPD is occasional cough. Later it becomes persistent until the patient reaches Stage 4 where no medical treatment is available. It is advisable that persons who smoke 1 or 2 packs a day must have a resolute decision to quit the vice before it is too late. Healthy lifestyle involves good nutrition, daily exercise and no questionable habits. Parents have a moral duty to lead children away from deceptive advertisements of cigarette companies that portray youthful vigor and charm, group acceptance and discriminating taste. In reality, the reverse is true. Smokers have foul odor, bad breath, yellow fingers, tainted teeth and generally weak. Sense of smell and taste is much subdued compared to non-smokers.
Based on Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 17.3 million Pinoys aged 15 and above are addicted to nicotine. Smoking prevalence is 56 percent among men and 12 percent in women. It is ironic that despite the increase in price of cigarettes in the market as a result of RA 9334, eighty (80) percent of the poorest Filipino households have at least one member who smokes. Consequently, our annual death toll from related smoking complication is 90,000 or 240 per day. Here, cost of medical treatment and hospitalization could be staggering and easily runs to millions of pesos.
Passive smoke is more lethal than direct smoking since inhalation of toxic substances like nicotine, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and all others do not pass through built-in cigarette filter. It is a terrible crime that loved ones such as our wife and children are unduly exposed without our knowing their deadly consequences later on. The victims have damaged lining of blood vessels, said the young Pulmonologist.
Research data show that smoking one pack of cigarettes each day is equivalent to losing 17 minutes of your life expectancy. It is financial waste since you are burning your money and with cigarette butts thrown away. At P25.00 per pack, this is P9,125.00 per year, quite a fortune.
Dr. Palomar advises smokers to break the habit by taking positive measures like definite timetable to stop, take replacement product like sugarless gum, sunflower seeds or hard candy. Other ways could be to engage in a brisk walk, play indoor games, and take a hobby or do aerobics. It also pays to have family and friends as social backup to help you through trying times ahead.
The Big Book of Health Tips by the Editors of FC & A observes that there’s a common misconception that once you are older, it doesn’t matter if you stop smoking or not, after all the damage is already done. Actually, this is not true. All of the health problems associated with smoking in younger and middle aged people also occur in older people.
Smoking causes hardening of the carotid artery. This is the artery that carries blood to your brain so you want it to stay open and flexible. When it hardens and narrows you have a greater risk of stroke and heart attack. The risk increases with every cigarette you smoke.
The good news is that if you stop smoking, the situation will improve. Your body may even work to reverse the damage and prevent heart and blood vessel disease.
Smoking is a serious health risk. Signage along the highway reads: Life is short, don’t make it shorter. /MP