The Tobacco Control Centre of the Hamad Medical Corporation on Monday warned about the link between smoking and heart disease and urged smokers to take advantage of smoking session services.
In recognition of World Heart Day, which is marked annually on September 29, the Centre said almost 2mn people around the world die from tobacco-related heart disease each year.
In addition to heart disease and high blood pressure, smokers are thought to be at risk for more severe Covid-19 illness due to the impact the virus has on the lungs, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"Research has shown that smoking increases heart rate, tightens major arteries, and can cause an irregular heart rhythm, all of which require the heart of a smoker to work harder than the heart of a non-smoker. In addition to damaging your heart and blood vessels, cigarette smoke can change one's blood chemistry and cause plaque, a waxy substance comprised of cholesterol, scar tissue, calcium, fat, and other material to build up in the arteries," Head of Tobacco Control Centre Dr Ahmad al-Mulla said.
"Smoking tobacco also increases carbon monoxide content in the blood and having high levels of carbon monoxide in your blood greatly increases one's risk of heart and circulatory diseases. Smokers, including those under the age of 50 years, are at an increased risk for angina pectoris and myocardial infarction," he added.
Smoking Cessation Specialist at the Tobacco Control Centre Dr Jamal Abdullah said the good news is that those who quit smoking early can reverse much of the damage caused by the dangerous habit.
He added that quitting has immediate and long-term health benefits, with heart rate and blood pressure dropping within 20 minutes and the carbon monoxide level in one's blood dropping to normal within 12 hours.
Abdullah said a high number of individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 develop heart disease due to the use of tobacco products, including cigarettes, hookah, chewing tobacco, and electronic cigarettes.
He said individuals who seek support at the Tobacco Control Centre receive one-on-one behavioural counselling and appropriate nicotine replacement or pharmaceutical support, depending on their level of addiction.
Abdullah said laser therapy treatment can also be helpful.
The Tobacco Control Centre provides all drug treatments, behavioural therapy and laser therapy to help smokers quit the habit and prevent chronic diseases.