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Tobacco increases risk for heart disease

The World Health Organisation (WHO), World Heart Federation (WHF) and the University of Newcastle in Australia, have urged all tobacco users to quit so as to avoid a heart attack, stressing that smokers were more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than nonsmokers.

In a new brief they released to commemorate the World Heart Day, marked on September 29, they revealed that every year, 1.9 million people die globally from tobacco-induced heart disease, amounting to one in five of all deaths from heart disease. According to them, just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease.

However, they noted that if tobacco users take immediate action and quit, then their risk of heart disease would decrease by 50 per cent after one year of not smoking. Tobacco control is a key element for reducing heart disease. The trio reasoned that governments can help tobacco users quit by increasing tax on tobacco products, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and offering services to help people give up tobacco. According to information contained in the brief, given the current level of evidence on tobacco and cardiovascular health and the health benefits of quitting smoking, failing to offer cessation services to patients with heart disease could be considered clinical malpractice or negligence.

To this end, the Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group, Dr. Eduardo Bianco, said: “Cardiology societies should train their members in smoking cessation, as well as to promote and even drive tobacco control advocacy efforts.”

The brief also showed that smokeless tobacco is responsible for around 200,000 deaths from coronary heart disease per year. E-cigarettes also raise blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, high blood pressure (HBP) and heart disease increase the risk of severe COVID-19. A recent WHO survey found that among people dying of COVID- 19 in Italy, 67 per cent had HBP and in Spain, 43 per cent of people, who developed COVID-19 were living with heart disease. On his part, Unit Lead of the WHO No Tobacco Unit, Dr. Vinayak Prasad, said, “Governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their people and help reverse the tobacco epidemic.

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