A cardiologist with Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Dr Akinkumi Afolabi, said cigarette smoking hasten the symptoms of stroke in heavy smokers.
Afolabi disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.
He said smoking could increase the risk of having stroke by at least 50 per cent, causing possible brain damage and death.
He said: “One way that smoking can increase risk of stroke is by increasing chances of developing brain aneurysm.
“This is a bulge in a blood vessel caused by weakness in the blood vessel wall.
“This can rupture and lead to extremely serious condition known as subarachnoid hemorrhage.
“Subarachnoid hemorrhage is a type of stroke which causes extensive brain damage and death.
“Within two years of stopping smoking, risk of stroke can be controlled but the patient needs treatment and proper monitoring.’’
He explained that smokers were liable to heart attack, premature aging and other cardiac complications.
He said: “Smoking also increases the risk of having heart attack and coronary heart disease.
“Smokers have increased chance of getting stomach cancer or ulcer, which weaken the muscle that controls the lower end of gullet (esophagus).
“Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the skin and makes the body to age faster and look grey and dull. The toxins in the body also cause cellulite.
“However, once people stop smoking, it will prevent further deterioration to the skin.”
The cardiologist urged government at all levels and the Federal Ministry of Health to create more awareness about the risk of tobacco use.