GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). Tobacco kills up to half of its users; kills more than eight million people each year; more than seven million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
The objective of the annual campaign is to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, to discourage the use of tobacco in any form, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, said on Friday.
CPS says the international focus of WNTB 2019 is on “tobacco and lung health.” Tobacco is deadly in any form and threatens the lung health of everyone exposed to it, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease. Tobacco kills one person every four seconds.
CPS adds that according to the WHO, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.
There are multiple ways that exposure to tobacco affects the health of people’s lungs worldwide. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) these include:
Lung cancer. Tobacco smoking is the primary cause for lung cancer, responsible for over two thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. Second-hand smoke exposure at home or in the workplace also increases risk of lung cancer. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer: after 10 years of quitting smoking, risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.
Chronic respiratory disease. Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition where the build-up of pus-filled mucus in the lungs results in a painful cough and agonising breathing difficulties. The risk of developing COPD is particularly high among individuals who start smoking at a young age, as tobacco smoke significantly slows lung development. Tobacco also exacerbates asthma, which restricts activity and contributes to disability. Early smoking cessation is the most effective treatment for slowing the progression of COPD and improving asthma symptoms.
Across the life-course. Infants exposed in-utero to tobacco smoke toxins, through maternal smoking or maternal exposure to second-hand smoke, frequently experience reduced lung growth and function. Young children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of the onset and exacerbation of asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, and frequent lower respiratory infections. Globally, an estimated 165 000 children die before the age of 5 of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing COPD in adulthood.
Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) damages the lungs and reduces lung function, which is further exacerbated by tobacco smoking. The chemical components of tobacco smoke can trigger latent infections of TB, which around a quarter of all people are infected with. Active TB, compounded by the damaging lung health effects of tobacco smoking, substantially increases risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.
Air pollution. Tobacco smoke is a very dangerous form of indoor air pollution: it contains over 7 000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Though smoke may be invisible and odourless, it can linger in the air for up to five hours, putting those exposed at risk of lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and reduced lung function.
Don’t let tobacco take your breath away. Choose health not tobacco. #Notobacco
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