Smoking a major killer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 June, 1993, 12:00am

YOUR correspondent Charles Yuen (South China Morning Post, May 27) has so kindly given us a few pointers on good health so as to avoid what is medically known as a myocardiac infarction, in layman's term, a heart attack.

I would have added one more pointer which is, in my view, one of the most, if not the most, important factor that contributes to a heart attack - cigarette smoking.

With cholesterol intake plus your own cholesterol manufactured naturally in the body, you may have blocked your arteries ultimately leading to a heart attack. But if you smoke and smoke heavily at the same time, your chances of experiencing the onslaughtof an early heart attack increase many-fold. Because we know only too well nicotine tends to constrict your blood vessels and veins thereby curtailing or restricting the blood flow and it also competes, in a manner of speaking, with your heart for a share of the oxygen that is the lifeline to all living cells. Perhaps more seriously and deadly, smoking may induce cancer of the lung.

At an early stage, if your arteries are blocked, you still can take a number of remedial measures that may reduce the blockage, such as what our Governor went through at Queen Mary Hospital not so long ago. Of course this is only one of the treatments you can undertake with blocked arteries. At least it is relatively less painful and embarrassing than those treatments a cancer patient has to undertake - chemotherapy and all that is associated with it.

We know for a fact our respected Legislative Councillor, Mr Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen was a cigarette smoker of many years standing and with his many official and unofficial entertaining functions that went with his high position and consuming all those sharks fin soups and so much roast beef, there is little wonder his arteries were severely damaged.

So, to Charles Yuen's timely advice I will add mine - don't smoke at all, because what you may possibly gain on the swings you will lose on the roundabout. In other words, you may be fortunate enough to avoid a heart attack, but you may, in the long run,get cancer.