Lingering effects of smoking create much damage

I concur with senior health correspondent Salma Khalik's call (Stub out habit that hurts many; March 30).

Some smokers protest that they should be given the freedom and space to smoke, as this is their basic right.

Superficially, this seems reasonable. But, it must be emphasised that smoking harms not only the smoker but also many others, at times causing their untimely death.

I remember a patient who succumbed to lung cancer. He did not smoke, but he spent hours every morning with three friends who smoked. Second-hand smoke, it seems, was his undoing.

Now, we are realising that third-hand smoke also causes problems.

Smoking in a room can cause toxic contaminants to be left behind for as long as six months afterwards.

Those who enter the room, particularly the very young and the very old, can be negatively affected by these contaminants.

The contaminants can even cling to the smoker's breath, clothing and belongings, affecting those around him, even when he is not smoking.

Smokers must realise the effects smoking has on their homes and housing estates, and the harm it has on society and the community.

The lingering effects of smoking create much damage, especially in a high-density housing environment like Singapore's.

The ill-health and complications arising from smoking and second-and third-hand smoke result in many man-hours lost.

Worldwide, billions of dollars are incurred in treatment, hospitalisation and rehabilitation.

This great burden to individuals and society should surely induce smokers to consider whether stubbing out truly infringes on only their personal rights.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2018, with the headline 'Lingering effects of smoking create much damage'. Print Edition | Subscribe