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Smoke heart harm reduction call

Monday April 23rd, 2012

Researchers have come up with ideas for reducing the harm caused by smoking to the heart, including changes to exercise and diet.

The findings have been revealed at the World Congress of Cardiology amid concern about widespread ignorance of the link between tobacco and heart disease.

Researchers from Athens, Greece, reported scientific studies of the effect of omega-3 oils, found in oily fish, on smokers.

This suggests that short-term consumption of the oil can reduce stiffness of the arteries, according to Dr Gerasimos Siasos, of Athens University.

The World Heart Foundation, which organised the conference, said smokers should not think that remedies could prevent the damage caused by the habit.

Chief science officer Kathryn Taubert said: "The only way to protect your body from the harmful effects of tobacco is to stop smoking. We encourage all people, both smokers and non-smokers, to eat healthy diets, which includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids."

A second study suggested that exercise can help smokers to give up and remain off the habit.

The findings came from an analysis of nearly 500,000 people in Taiwan showing that people who undertook moderate activity were 55 per cent more likely than inactive people to give up successfully.

The conference, in Dubai, heard that in countries such as the UK and the US between a third and a half of smokers do not know that breathing other people's smoke can damage their hearts and circulation.

In countries such as China, ignorance of the link rises to about 57 per cent.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, of the World Health Organisation's Tobacco Free Initiative, said: "This report provides conclusive proof that the level of information people have about the cardiovascular harms of tobacco use and second-hand smoke is still insufficient and therefore mass media campaigns and warnings are urgently needed to make people aware of these lethal harms."

Tags: Asia | Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Europe | Heart Health | World Health

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