World No Tobacco Day 2018
Don’t smoke the life out of you
More than 1.1 billion people worldwide are tobacco users. Every year, over 7 million people lose their lives due to tobacco use out of which 900,000 are second-hand smokers. This means that tobacco kills up to half of its users.
Smoking is a risk factor for several health conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is important to understand the need to reduce the use of tobacco by making people aware of the risks they put themselves into by smoking.
About World No Tobacco Day
Started in 1987 by the World Health Organization, the World No Tobacco Day aims to highlight the health and other risks associated with tobacco use, and to encourage effective policies by governments to reduce tobacco consumption.
Each year, a specific theme is set to commemorate this day. This year’s theme; Tobacco and heart disease aims at:
- Increasing awareness on the link between cardiovascular diseases including stroke and tobacco use, and
- Viable actions to be taken especially by governments to ensure reduction of heart conditions caused by tobacco use.
Tobacco and Heart Health
Did you know that cardiovascular diseases kill more people than other causes of death worldwide?
Smoking tobacco and second-hand tobacco smoke contributes to 12% of all heart disease deaths, making tobacco use the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease, coming after high blood pressure. Tobacco contains over 7000 chemicals including tar, arsenic and lead which have adverse health effects to smokers.
Some of the heart conditions brought about by tobacco use include:
- Coronary heart disease: This is the narrowing of the coronary arteries limiting blood flow to the heart.
- Stroke: An emergency medical conditions whereby blood supply to the brain is interrupted and reduced, causing the brain tissues to lack oxygen and nutrients and in turn damaging the brain cells that start to die in minutes.
- Peripheral vascular disease: It involves narrowing of arteries outside the heart and brain, decreasing blood supply to the arms, legs and internal organs.
How to reduce tobacco use
Several measures have been put in place to reduce the use of tobacco worldwide. These measures are as follows:
- Monitoring tobacco use and the prevention policies that have been set up
- Warning people about the dangers of using tobacco; for example, through anti-tobacco mass media campaigns or through plain packaging and putting graphic health warnings on the tobacco packaging
- Offering to helping people quit smoking by providing population-wide support
- Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
- Raising taxes on tobacco products to make them less affordable
- Protecting people from being exposed to tobacco smoke by creating smoke-free public places and public transportation among others