Each cigarette smoked “shortens your life by eleven minutes,” says leading expert
Experts at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi are encouraging smokers to quit the deadly habit for the sake of their heart, as part of a month-long campaign ahead of World Heart Day on September 29.
The hospital’s ‘Know Your Heart’ campaign has focused on a range of risk factors related to cardiovascular disease, including family history and obesity. One of the key messages is that quitting smoking is the single most beneficial action people can take to improve their heart health.
Among the risks, smoking damages the lining of arteries, leading to a buildup of fatty material (atheroma). This can cause a heart attack or stroke in some patients. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can also reduce the amount of oxygen in blood, which means the heart has to pump harder, and smoking also increases the risk of blood clotting, which can lead to a heart attack and stroke.
Iyaad Hasan, a Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, who runs the Smoking Cessation Program, said: “Smoking is one of the most harmful activities you can undertake and significantly increases the risk of a heart attack. If you wanted to visualize the dangers, each cigarette you smoke shortens your life by approximately eleven minutes.”
Replicating the successful program from Cleveland Clinic Ohio, the Smoking Cessation Program follows smokers from their decision to quit through to life after smoking, creating a customized program for each individual.
The program takes participants beyond their “quit date,” helping them to avoid a relapse by offering diet and lifestyle tips, as well as information on how to avoid smoking triggers to prevent a relapse.
Hasan explained: “It’s never too late to quit smoking and the benefits of stopping are almost immediate. After one day without smoking, patients’ blood pressure normalizes. Kidneys also respond quickly. Within seven days, patients’ taste buds can taste food again. After a period of one to two years without smoking, the risk of heart disease is reduced by around 50 percent.”
Patients who wish to book an appointment can visit: https://www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae/en/patients-and-visitors/forms-and-documents/pages/request-an-appointment.aspx .