This is according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA).
During Heart Awareness Month this month,the HSFSA will be focusing on three core messages: tobacco use, high salt use and hypertension, as well as unhealthy diet with physical inactivity.
Health promotions manager for the HSFSA in Durban, Dana Govender, said: “There is no safe level of smoking. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette even, those labelled mild and low nicotine.”
Tobacco smoking triples the risk of having a heart attack and doubles the risk of having a stroke and globally one in eight deaths are tobacco-related. In South Africa, 37% of men and 7% of women smoke, increasing the risk for CVD substantially.
According to Govender, non-smokers who breathe in second-hand smoke suffer many of the diseases of active smoking. “Second-hand smoke (passive smoking) actually contains five times more carbon monoxide and six times more nicotine than first-hand smoking as the filter on a cigarette offers some protection for the smoker.”
Heart health awareness should also be practised among children: “Second-hand smoking causes problems in children including bronchitis, pneumonia, and worsened asthma and middle ear infections. If a pregnant mother smokes, she introduces nicotine to her unborn baby. These babies are at a risk of low birth weight and cognitive and physiological problems.”
For help to quit, contact the National Council Against Smoking on www.againstsmoking.co.za