Myths and truths about the ‘silent killer’

One cigarette may the decisive factor in a heart attack and cause the sudden death of a smoker. A single cigarette can have serious consequences says Hellenic Cardiology Foundation Director Pavlos Toutouzas, if other risk factors, such as acute anxiety and anger, are present. The most dangerous combination of all is coffee and smoking. Toutouzas notes that while smoking is on the decline in other countries, nearly half the Greek population continues to smoke. The good news is that smoking is decreasing among better-educated members of society who are aware of its catastrophic effect not only on their health but also on their quality of life. «Smoking has so many harmful effects on the body,» says Toutouzas. «Not one good effect has ever been confirmed through an objective test of the blood or bodily organ,» nonetheless, the tobacco industry persists in a «manifest fraud,» trying to convince young people that smoking enhances every moment. Nobody tells them that apart from heart disease and cancer, smoking causes wrinkles, sexual dysfunction – especially in men – hair loss, premature graying and reduced lung function. Toutouzas pulls no punches, speaking openly of «corruption,» the «funding and sponsorship» by organizations and even governments to support smoking, and he notes that the mortality rate of middle-aged smokers is double that of non-smokers.