MANILA, Philippines – It is the season when people tend to become unhealthy. They take a break from exercising, they eat and drink more and they sleep less.
If that's the case, this season might as well be the time to greet everyone "Merry Christmas Coronary, Happy New Year Heart Attack"— so-called by the American Heart Association because of the rapid increase in heart attack incidents recorded during the holidays.
To top it all off, people also light cigarettes that produce as much smoke as chimneys do– a habit which health and wellness expert Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan says is one of the 6 main factors that increase a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack.
“Smoking damages the cells lining the blood vessels and the heart causing the arteries to harden and clog, which prevents blood and oxygen to flow to the heart leading to chest pains or worse, heart attack," said Galvez-Tan.
In a press release, the former Health secretary reported that cigarette smoke contains 7,000 deadly chemicals that once inhaled, could cause a variety of diseases to both smokers and non-smokers alike.
Galvez-Tan added that while inhaling cigarette smoke is already a cause for concern, passive smoking– the inhalation of secondhand smoke– is an entirely different matter that should be urgently addressed as well.
Quitting Your Way To Health
Now that everyone's enjoying the holidays, individuals may say they are lighting up their cigars just for the occasion.
However, in the spirit of healthy living in the holidays, Galvez-Tan suggests one thing: Why not quit smoking once and for all?
“The best gift you can give your family this Christmas is to quit smoking and make your home smoke-free,” he said.
It could be the hardest thing to do for the 17 million adult smokers in the Philippines, but they should be exerting more effort, he added.
Galvez-Tan added that if the habit cannot be stopped, it is best that the smokers should be considerate to youngsters around them.
"If you can't stop smoking and are already addicted to cigarettes, please don’t smoke at home, protect your children from heart attacks and other tobacco-related diseases," he said.
They say the best gifts given and received are those that can neither be found nor bought in any store. Giving up smoking altogether might be the most precious one for the books.