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5 Bad Habits That Carry Health Risks M’sians Should Break & The Alternatives They Can Try Instead


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Source: Verena Yunita Yapi & Pavel Danilyuk

Take a look at your current lifestyle and you’ll notice how easy it is to fall prey to some bad habits that can threaten your health. Most of these habits may have been picked up unknowingly out of boredom or stress, so breaking these habits can be very challenging at first.

Fortunately, there are alternatives out there that can give you the same kind of satisfaction while minimising their negative impacts. In this article, we’ve provided alternatives to some of the most common habits among Malaysians. Keep reading to find out more!


1. Munching on junk food

Yes, it is hard to resist the urge to grab a burger from the fast-food joint on the way home, and even harder to reject junk food with an explosion of flavours! Sadly, we know all too well that these foods are only satisfying for the tongue, not the body.

Excessive sugar and fat in junk food can be the prime factors of severe health issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is why many health-conscious individuals opt for healthy snacks, such as:

  • Homemade burgers and pizzas
  • Low-sugar yoghurts instead of ice cream
  • Roasted nuts instead of chips

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2. Drinking too much coffee in a day

Many of us need that freshly brewed coffee to kickstart a hectic day. However, if you find yourself drinking four cups of coffee and still feeling tired, it’s time to lower your coffee intake because insomnia, diarrhoea, high blood pressure, and anxiety are just some of the negative effects of excessive caffeine intake!

To control your caffeine intake, you can either start drinking only one cup of coffee per day, or consider drinking decaffeinated coffee instead. By switching to decaffeinated coffee, die-hard coffee drinkers can improve their sleep quality and lower anxiety without giving up on their favourite drinks!

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3. Spending too much time on gadgets

From smartphones to TVs and laptops, many of us have become inseparable from our digital devices. While it is undeniable that these gadgets have brought ease and convenience, excessive screen time can lead to obesity, depression, reduced sleep quality, and neck pain!

Instead of having your sight glued to gadgets, spend more time in nature! Not only will your eyesight improve, but you’re also likely to experience stress reduction and increased physical activities! Here are some ways to stop yourself from staying glued to your gadgets:

  • Stroll around the park while taking a short break from work
  • Pick up a hobby (e.g. gardening)
  • Plan a nature trip (e.g. camping, hiking, snorkelling)

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4. Relying on energy drinks 

Need a little energy boost? Don’t reach for your energy drinks just yet! These drinks contain high levels of caffeine, sugar, and under-researched ingredients like taurine and carnitine. While excessive caffeine and sugar intake can threaten our health, there is also insufficient data to establish the safety of the unusual ingredients in energy drinks.

Therefore, healthier drinks like protein shakes and protein smoothies can be better alternatives. These drinks are rich in amino acids, which provide our bodies with long bursts of energy. Besides, you can also add some leafy greens, fruits, and nuts into your protein drinks for extra nutrients!

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5. Smoking cigarettes

The combustion of tobacco in cigarettes produces smoke which contains harmful chemicals that can cause smoking-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, and stroke. These emissions can also threaten the health of non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Smokers who want an alternative to cigarettes can consider smoke-free products, such as tobacco heating devices which heat up tobacco instead of burning it. These products play an important role in achieving tobacco harm reduction (THR)!

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Wait, what is tobacco harm reduction (THR)?

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a public health strategy introduced to reduce the health risks caused by the use of tobacco products. 

It is acknowledged that the banning of cigarettes might not always be feasible due to factors like illicit cigarette trade, nicotine addiction, and personal preference. Therefore, THR encourages existing smokers to substitute cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives, like IQOS, instead. 


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Cigarettes vs IQOS: What are the differences?

While both products use tobacco, they function quite differently. Unlike tobacco-burning cigarettes, IQOS is a tobacco-heating device. It uses patented ceramic blades to heat up tobacco at around 350℃, while cigarettes burn tobacco leaves at up to 900℃.

IQOS produces aerosol which does not reduce indoor air quality. On the flipside, since no combustion is involved, it also does not produce any harmful secondhand smoke or smoke smell that would typically bother bystanders.

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By switching to IQOS, smokers can use nicotine without exposing themselves and bystanders to the harmful smoke and ash. Besides, they don’t have to worry about the strong smoke smell that can be bothering others. 

All in all, although IQOS still contains nicotine and is not completely risk-free, it can be an alternative for smokers who wish to continue smoking. Learn more about tobacco heating devices here

These products are not risk-free and contain nicotine, which is addictive. Only for use by adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products. 

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