SMOKING is not just a deadly vice but is four times more fatal.

This as smoking can increase the risks of heart diseases, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Speaking at an online forum, DOH-Non-communicable Diseases Subgroup head Dr. Maria Rosario Sylvia Uy said smoking can increase one's risk of developing heart ailments four times more than a non-smoker.

"Smoking is associated to two- to four-fold increase in the risks of coronary heart disease. It has a greater than 70 percent increased rate of death from coronary heart disease," said Uy.

"This can really cause an alleviated risk of sudden death. One can really face sudden death from smoking," she added.

This was seconded by the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), saying smokers in particular are at risk of developing ischemic heart disease.

"Smoking causes the hardening of the arteries," said PHA Chair for Advocacy Dr. Luigi Pierre Segundo, adding that hardening of arteries prevents good oxygen flow to the heart.

Because of this, the PHA renewed calls for the public to stop or avoid smoking.

"Do not even start smoking as it is very hard to quit smoking. And if you are currently smoking, strive hard to stop smoking," said Segundo.

Based on the 2018 National Nutrition Survey, the adult smoking prevalence stands at 20.7 percent of the Philippine population. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)