Smoking is bad. Period.
We all know that cigarette smoke – first- and second-hand, comprise of more than 7000 chemicals, with 69 of them known to cause cancer. This makes long-term cigarette smoke inhalation harmful to the body and heart, but did you know that smoking cigarettes in a haze-filled environment can increase the health risks? By itself, the pollutants found in the haze (namely, carbon monoxide, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide) are bad enough. Couple that with a smoking habit and you could be looking at increased health risks, particularly, inflammation to the airways (the passage from the nose and mouth leading to the lungs) and the lungs.
According to the Ministry of Health Malaysia, in bad weather, the percentage of patients complaining of haze-induced inflammation of the lungs and airways is higher in smokers as well as people suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The fine dust particles of cigarette smoke (of 0.3 to 0.4 microns) are capable of going into the lungs and aggravating deep lung tissue. When the pollutant particles of the haze (measuring 10 microns and below) are inhaled on top of this, the likelihood of developing pulmonary and respiratory complications during this period are higher in smokers than in the non-smokers. Symptoms of airway and lung inflammation are chronic cough, excessive phlegm, wheezing, breathlessness and asthma attacks brought on by the bad air.
While it may be difficult to quit smoking altogether, you could try reducing how frequently you smoke for a start. This will create a healthier environment not only for you but for those around you as well. Here are some other ways to stay healthy in bad weather!