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Cancer - General Cardiovascular Disease Preventive Wellness

Smoking in Singapore – Health Impacts and Resources To Help You Quit

Smoking in Singapore

Prevalence of Smoking in Singapore

Singapore has one of the lowest rates in terms of prevalence in smoking in the world. Even more, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has noted a decline in the number of tobacco usage among young Singaporeans during the period 2007-2017. While this is good news, the health threats tied to smoking continue to exist.

Evolving Societal Norms and Standards for Smoking in Singapore

It has long been accepted that an individual’s lifestyle choice plays a huge role when it comes to habits, both healthy and risky ones, like drinking and smoking. People often turn to lighting the cigarette sticks as coping mechanisms to stress and other issues. Furthermore, studies have also shown that we drink and smoke as a means to be ‘socially accepted’ or have a good time with friends.

In 2017, the average age for young Singaporeans to begin smoking was 18 years old. Health officials note that the youth start smoking due to social influence and the perception that “smoking is cool”. This relatively low age for picking up smoking is worrisome as the young smokers might carry on with this habit for many years to come.

What Are The Health Risks From Smoking?

Smoking Can Damage The Respiratory System

Smoke contains compounds that can harm your lungs when you inhale them. This damage causes several issues over time. People who smoke are more likely to develop chronic, irreversible lung diseases such as:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Smoking Can Cause Cancer

While there are still no exact answer to what exactly causes cancer, smoking is one of the common causes known to lead to cancer. The risk of developing lung cancer or passing away from it is 15–30 times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. Lung cancer risk is increased by even infrequent or light cigarette smoking. The danger increases if a person smokes for longer periods and consumes more cigarettes daily.

Smoking Can Cause Cardiovascular Disease

Your entire cardiovascular system is harmed by smoking. Nicotine tightens blood arteries, reducing the amount of blood that can flow through them. Peripheral artery disease can develop over time as a result of blood vessel injury and continuing constriction. Not only smoking has a negative effect on both your cardiovascular health and the health of non-smokers in your close surroundings.

Smoking Impacts Not Only Your Own Health

The worst impact of cigarette smoking is not just found on a smoker’s body but also on individuals exposed to secondhand smoke, with children being the most vulnerable group.

When a cigarette is lit, it produces two types of smoke. Firstly, there is mainstream smoke, which is smoke inhaled by the smoker through the cigarette filter tip and then exhaled. Then there is sidestream smoke, which is from the burning tip of the cigarette. This goes directly into the air. Second-hand smoke consists of approximately 85% sidestream smoke and 15% mainstream smoke.

The concentration of chemicals in sidestream smoke is higher than in mainstream smoke. Scientists found out that secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, of which about 70 of these can cause cancer.

In Singapore alone, health experts estimate that 300 people die from secondhand smoke exposure each year. 

Health Promotion Board Is There To Help You To Quit Smoking

If you’re thinking about buying that pack of cigarettes, you should reconsider your plans. This will not only spare you from your health declining in the later years but also your loved ones, and even your friends, from health-related consequences. Once you start smoking, quitting is not easy.

Nonetheless, if you are a smoker and you have made the decision to quit smoking, take comfort that this is the right decision. You will be protecting your own, and your family’s health!

To help you succeed, the Health Promotion Board‘s I Quit Programme is available to help you along the way. With the programme, you will receive a customized quit plan based on your smoking profile, daily SMS tips, calls from trained QuitLine Advisors, and even free counselling session with a pharmacist.

As an added incentive, the programme rewards people who have their smoke-free status validated with a HPB eVoucher worth $50 on the 28th day. There are also eVoucher rewards worth $30 (at the 3-month) and $20 (at the 6-month mark) (as at 18 Oct 22).

This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.