Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Smoker quits after brush with death, promise to child

By Tsai Shu-yuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A 49-year-old Taichung man who smoked 70 cigarettes a day quit after coming close to heart failure, a Taichung Veterans General Hospital cardiologist said on Saturday.

The man, surnamed Lai (賴), told an anti-smoking publicity event organized by the hospital that he had smoked since he was 10 and often did so to socialize with clients.

“I smoked when I was bored or down,” said Lai, a construction contractor.

Although he began coughing blood specks two years ago, his addiction only worsened, he said, adding that his eldest daughter was hospitalized with a terminal illness the following year and he would smoke during breaks from taking care of her, he said.

After she died, he began smoking incessantly, which led to difficulty breathing and edemas in both legs, leaving him bedridden, Lai said, adding that he was sent to the hospital after a heart attack.

Cardiologist Wang Chi-yen (王奇彥) said that emergency oxygen was administered and Lai was hospitalized for nine days.

Doctors found that Lai’s heart was enlarged and that the left ventricle had an ejection factor of 18 percent, with the normal value being 50 percent, indicating congestive heart failure, Wang said.

Tobacco use is linked to heart failure in 30 to 40 percent of cases, while natural aging accounts for just 30 percent, he said.

Lai’s weight, blood pressure and heart function were monitored, and he was prescribed medication and advised to quit smoking, which he did, Wang said.

After 10 months without a cigarette, the ejection factor had increased to 49 percent and he could walk 330m in six minutes, up from 90m, Wang said.

Lai said he stopped smoking for the sake of his second daughter after promising her that he would quit.

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