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Can You Afford the Health Risks of Smoking? | Affinity Health

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, highlights how smoking harms you and your family this Anti-Tobacco Month.


What are the Dangers of Tobacco?

Despite widespread health concerns associated with tobacco, millions of South Africans still smoke. Do you know that smoking heightens the chances of developing life-threatening diseases?


According to CDC, cigarettes will kill half of all smokers. At least 30 people live with a severe smoking-related illness. At least 30 people are ill for every person who dies because of smoking.


Second-hand smoke exposure kills. It causes 41 000 fatalities among non-smokers and 400 deaths among infants each year.


Adults exposed to second-hand smoking develop stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are likelier to have sudden infant death syndrome.

Children also suffer from the following health ailments:
  • Acute respiratory infections.
  • Middle ear disorders.
  • Severe asthma.
  • Respiratory complaints.
  • Slower lung growth.

10 Ways Smoking Harms Your Health

  1. Smoking doubles the risk of coronary heart disease. It also quadruples the chance of stroke.
  2. Those who smoke fewer than five cigarettes per day may show early signs of cardiovascular disease.
  3. Smoking wreaks havoc on the blood vessels, causing them to stiffen and constrict, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
  4. If you have asthma, tobacco smoke may trigger or exacerbate an attack.
  5. Smoking causes an increased risk of death from cancer and other disorders in cancer patients and survivors.
  6. Smoking can impede the ability to conceive. Additionally, it can affect infant health before and after birth.
  7. Smoking can also harm sperm count, decreasing fertility and raising the risk of failed conception.
  8. Smoking damages your teeth and gums and might cause tooth loss.
  9. Smoking increases your risk of acquiring cataracts. Cataracts refer to the clouding of the eyes, resulting in vision impairment. Additionally, it can result in macular degeneration associated with ageing (AMD). AMD is a disorder in which a small section of the retina becomes destroyed.
  10. Smoking promotes the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Active smokers have a 30%–40% increased risk of developing diabetes than non-smokers.
Learn More: How Smoking May Affect Your Surgery

Why is it So Difficult to Quit Smoking Tobacco?

Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Quitting smoking is difficult because of withdrawal symptoms.


“Your body and brain quickly develop an addiction to nicotine. It rapidly creates a false sense of well-being,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health. “That is not to say that quitting is impossible. It just takes perseverance, patience, and dedication.”


Quitting smoking is one of the most critical steps an individual can take to enhance their health.

Quitting the habit:

  • Boosts your health and quality of life.
  • Reduces the risk of premature death and increases life expectancy by up to ten years.
  • Benefits recovery from coronary heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Reduces the financial burden of smoking on everyone you love most.

Start Your Stop Smoking Plan With START

S = Set a date to stop smoking.
  • Pull out your calendar and choose a day to quit smoking.
  • Circle the day in red pen and stick the calendar up on the wall.
  • If you smoke at work most of the time, give yourself a few days to acclimate over the weekend.
T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers about your intention to stop smoking.
  • Share your intention to quit smoking with your friends and family.
  • Explain that you will need their support and encouragement to succeed.
  • Seek out a quit buddy who shares your desire to quit smoking.
  • You can assist one another in getting through difficult times.


A = Anticipate and plan for the difficulties you’re likely to encounter while quitting.

Most people return to smoking during the first three months. You can overcome common obstacles like nicotine withdrawal and cigarette cravings by planning.


R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products around you.
  • Remove any cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and matches from your possession.
  • Clean your clothes and deodorize everything that has a strong smell of smoke.
  • Shampoo your car, drapery, curtains and carpets.


T = Talk to your physician about quitting if you need help.

Your physician may prescribe medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms.

If you cannot see a doctor, the following products are also available over the counter:

  • Nicotine patches
  • Lozenges
  • Chewing gum
Learn More: Can Quitting Smoking Affect Your Diabetes?

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of affordable medical insurance. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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