Smoking can affect men’s sperm, reduce fertility, and increase the risks of birth defects and miscarriage. Smoking can make it harder for a woman to become pregnant, and can affect her baby’s health both before and after birth. Smokers are at greater risk of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. In fact, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and overall health.

Yet, smokers still made up over 13 per cent of Singapore residents in 2013. According to a fact sheet put out by the Health Promotion Board in May 2015, 18 per cent of residents were smokers in 1992. The figure started to fall after that but continued to hover between 13 and 15 per cent.

Why do smokers resist quitting? It’s tough to kick the habit – the craving for nicotine has been likened to addiction to hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Also, many people continue smoking because they have bought into popular myths about the habit.

Smoking Myths and Facts: Clearing the Air Between Them 

Myth: Quitting won’t help me because I have smoked for many years.
Fact: The sooner you quit, the sooner your health can improve. Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heartbeat start to normalise. Within two to five years, your risk of having a stroke could fall to about that of a non-smoker. In 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is cut by half. At the same time, stopping smoking protects the health of your family. Breathing in second-hand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, as well as respiratory diseases like asthma and bronchitis.

Myth: Smoking a few cigarettes a day is no big deal.
Fact: There is no safe number of cigarettes smoked. Each cigarette contains 4,000 chemicals and poisons, 40 of which cause cancer. Consuming three to five daily can lead to cardiovascular diseases and trigger sudden heart attacks and death.

 Read on for more myths and facts about smoking and where you can seek help to quit.

Ref: N18