Smoking is the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease, after high blood pressure. Therefore, to quit smoking is one of the best things you can do for your heart and health. It’s never too late to quit smoking because quitting almost immediately provides benefits and if you persevere, over time your risk of heart disease and stroke can fall almost identical to that of a non-smoker.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA encourages all South Africans to avoid smoking or the use of other tobacco products and to protect yourself and your family from exposure to second-hand smoke, or passive smoking. Both smoking and passive smoking pose very real dangers to your health as well as those around you!
Cigarettes contain more than 4000 dangerous chemicals, including nicotine which is an extremely addictive substance with numerous harmful effects and is present in all tobacco products.
Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are battery-powered devices that vaporise a liquid into an aerosol. Their use has become increasingly popular. However, scientific evidence on the health implications are inconclusive. Despite this, the HSFSA does not recommend the use of ECs as part of a lifestyle that promotes long-term cardiovascular health. Concerns over safety include exposure to nicotine, particulate matter and other chemicals as well as safety of the electronic device itself since the manufacturing of ECs is unregulated.
Although ECs do not contain tobacco and seem to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes, its long-term safety and use has not been sufficiently studied. A further concern is that ECs may possibly function as a gateway to start cigarette smoking, especially amongst the youth. In essence, using ECs simulates smoking itself which in some way encourages smoking behaviour.
There are numerous strategies to stop smoking with varying success rates. Different strategies suite different people, but the success for any individual will depend on the strength of his or her motivation to stop and readiness to make the necessary changes. Here are some tips to help you quit:
Heart and Stroke Health Line
0860 1 HEART (0860 1 4278)
National Quit Line / National Council Against Smoking
011 720 3145
A telephonic advice service on how to quit smoking is provided during office hours. They can also post a personal guide to quitting.
021 788 9120 / 011 487 0231 / 061 190 8147
7 week quit smoking programme. One-on-one counselling
CANSA e-Kick Butt Programme
Online smoking cessation programme