Prague conference highlights alarming statistics about smoking

09-07-2004

A seminar was held this week in Prague's Centre for Preventive Cardiology, on the effects of tobacco smoking, organised by the Czech Coalition against Tobacco. Delegates at the conference came out with some alarming statistics. For example, 50 people die per day in the Czech Republic from the effects of smoking. A regular smoker shortens his life by 15 years and about a third of the population of the Czech Republic still smokes. I asked Dr Michal Vrablik what are the greatest dangers:

"That is really difficult to say as there are several thousands of elements that influence the health of vassals. However nicotine is probably the most well known and the culprit that acts entirely throughout the body on all vassals you have."

The question is what one should do to stop smoking.

"At all times these people can find advice and consultancy in specialised centres throughout the republic. In Prague there are several of them and each physician can give the first consultancy and advice how to start and how to give up most effectively. There are some ways how to improve the symptoms of nicotine addiction like nicotine replacement therapy. There are chewing gums or nicotine cigarettes and each one who tries to give up and can't should find someone from the medical for help and consultation."

The Czech Republic recently introduced tough new labelling of cigarette packets - with warnings that smoking kills; it is also no longer legal to brand cigarettes as "light". But I asked Dr Vrablik whether "light" cigarettes really are equally harmful.

Some very sophisticated filtering systems in the cigarettes actually harmed the people because they allow them to breathe much more deeply than they would without these filters. Light cigarettes especially, are more harmful than the strong ones because the filter allows to filter not the dangerous parts but to filter the untastiest parts of the smoke."

Unfortunately someone who already had a heart attack has 50 percent more chance to have another one, than others, and smoking increases this risk 2 to 6 times. Finally Dr Katerina Langrova gives some reasons for stopping smoking and explains the effect, which only one cigarette per day can have:

"If you smoke, stop smoking because this is the most important risk factor for coronary heart disease."

09-07-2004

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