Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 chemical compounds and 400 toxic chemicals that include tar, carbon monoxide, DDT, arsenic and formaldehyde.
The nicotine in cigarettes, in particular, makes them highly addictive.
Dr Stanley Chia, cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, explains the effects of smoking and drinking on our health.
Growing up, many children may view drinking and smoking as privileges of adults and therefore ‘cool’ activities to engage in.
While the deleterious effect of smoking on the risk of cardiovascular disease is well-recognised and straightforward (the risk of heart disease increases with the amount of smoking), the impact of drinking is more complex.
Some evidence suggests that moderate drinking (3 – 14 drinks a week) may be associated with a lower risk of heart attack, while heavier drinking may well increase the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure.
Certain groups of people should not drink alcohol at all.
These include young people under the age of 18, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions, patients on medication that will interact with alcohol, recovering alcoholics, and people who intend to drive or do activities that require attention and coordination.
Smokers who quit smoking with support are more likely to succeed than those who do it on their own.
Hence, it is helpful for those trying to stop to consult a health professional on engage a smoking cessation programme.