May 31
2021

World No Tobacco Day (May 31, 2021)

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“Tobacco kills”… we all have been reading and listening to this phrase since our childhood but we’ve never taken it seriously and as a result tobacco is killing about 8 million people a year around the world. 7 million of the deaths are the results of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the results of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

These facts are proof that health policies and actions haven’t been adequate. Isn’t this a worrisome issue?? To shed light on this issue and lift awareness about its harmful effects “World No Tobacco Day” is conducted by WHO annually on May 31st.

Theme

The world No tobacco day’s theme for this year is “Commit to Quit”. WHO selects a special theme once a year as a central component to distribute a worldwide message to the people for more awareness. Other publicity materials for the theme like brochures, posters, fliers, press releases, websites etc are also provided by the WHO to the members organizing the celebration of World no Tobacco Day.

Purpose

The tobacco epidemic is one of the foremost important public health threats to the earth. The purpose of celebrating today is to raise awareness about the negative impact of tobacco products on human health.

What is Tobacco?

Tobacco might be a poison and a robust carcinogen. It is  produced from the fresh leaves of Nicotiana Plants. It is a source from America but this was introduced to the earth to Europe by Jean Nicot who was French ambassador in 1559. It became a popular and important crop. Cigarette smoking is the most typical kind of tobacco use worldwide. Other tobacco products include waterpipe tobacco, various smokeless tobacco products, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, bidis and kreteks. Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco are made from dried tobacco leaves.

The smoke from these products might be a posh mixture of chemicals produced by burning tobacco and its additives. The tobacco companies are now investing in alternative nicotine delivery devices so as to look out for a market of users enthusiastic to nicotine as a life-style product. The only known tobacco-free nicotine product is the e-cigarette. Youths are attracted to it because of the taste of candy, fruit, cake, or another of the 15,000 flavors and youth has the misperception that flavored e-cigarettes are less harmful.

However, the use of such  Smokeless tobacco alternatives are extremely addictive and damaging to health. Smokeless tobacco contains many cancer-causing toxins and its use increases the danger of cancers of the highest , neck, throat, oesophagus and mouth (including cancer of the mouth, tongue, lip and gums) as well as various dental diseases. 

Tobacco Smoke

Some of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke include:

• Nicotine

• Formaldehyde

• Lead

• Arsenic

• Ammonia

• Radioactive elements, like polonium-210

• Benzene

• carbon monoxide gas

• Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs)

• Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Many of these substances cause cancer. Some can cause heart disease, lung disease, or other serious health problems, too. Most of the substances come from the burning tobacco leaves. Tobacco features plenty of bad chemicals in them because they’re added to make it taste better, burn perfectly even whenever more additives are added in tobacco. Tobacco smoke leaves behind a toxic residue, mentioned as thirdhand smoke, that sticks to surfaces (such as walls, floors, clothes, and furniture) and collects in house dust. This residue can persist for years without proper removal and exposure thereto is harmful, especially for babies and kids.

Quitting tobacco usage is possible, but most people need help. Only 4% of attempts to quit tobacco will succeed with none kind of support. The use of medicines and professional support can quite double the prospect of a successful quit attempt. The challenges that smokers face when trying to quit are largely ignored. Many countries like Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand etc have made changes like increased taxes, established smoke-free public places, and prohibited advertising.

Research suggests that smokers are at a far better risk of developing more severe COVID-19 outcomes. With health experts warning that smoking can worsen the results of COVID-19, we on behalf of NAYS-Pakistan, want the responsible authorities, health departments and governments around the world to take this issue seriously and implement proven strategies to stop the tobacco industry’s harmful practices to save lots of lives.

The solution we propose during this regard is to increase tobacco tax, 100% smoke-free public places, large pictorial warnings on tobacco products and bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Policy makers should also prohibit flavored tobacco products given the clear evidence these products attract and addict kids. Policy makers must plan to protect kids and health from this predatory industry.

Article: Ms. Sundeela Fayyaz

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