Risks are well documented

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 February, 2005, 12:00am

The HKU research on the cost of smoking, released yesterday, is the latest in a series of studies over the past year on the impact of the habit on everyday life.

Last month , an HKU and Oxford University study found that regular exposure to second-hand smoke heightens the chance of a stroke by 50 per cent. The same study also found that the risk of stroke among people who live with two smokers rises by as much as 108 per cent. It concluded that about 1,300 people a year die from the effects of second-hand smoke in Hong Kong.

Last September, the Department of Health and the University of Hong Kong released research showing that elderly smokers are 50 per cent more likely to suffer depression than those who do not smoke. Those who kick the habit still stand a 20 per cent higher chance of being depressed than people who have never smoked, but they are 20 per cent less likely to be depressed than smokers.

But a report released in July found that smoking is a lesser evil than a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of physical activity caused more than 6,400 deaths a year, compared with just over 5,700 from smoking.

An HKU study released in May found that heavy smokers were 50 per cent more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than non-smokers.

The HKU research team also found that former smokers were 30 per cent less likely than heavy smokers to experience the problem. The study also highlighted the effects of tobacco advertising on impressionable young minds.