World No-Tobacco Day - MMHRC

World No-Tobacco Day
Blog
267 Views March 14, 2022

World No Tobacco Day is celebrated around the world every year on May 31. … The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. This year, the theme of World no Tobacco Day is ‘Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use’.

More addictive substance - nicotine

The nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, over 20 different types or subtypes of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, more than 8 million people die from tobacco use. Most tobacco-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, which are often targets of intensive tobacco industry interference and marketing.

How could smoking affect COVID-19?

Tobacco use damages our health and leads to many life-threatening and debilitating diseases including the main noncommunicable diseases such as: cancer, heart and lung diseases and diabetes. In the current situation, it is important to take into account that these conditions put people at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19. Tobacco smokers (cigarettes, water pipes, bidis, cigars, heated tobacco products) may be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as the act of smoking involves contact of fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) with the lips, which increases the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth.

Smoking any kind of tobacco reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of many respiratory infections and can increase the severity of respiratory diseases. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off corona-viruses and other respiratory diseases. Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 outcomes and death.

Tobacco is also a development issue

Tobacco causes many social, economic and environmental problems which impede national development. An unhealthy workforce slows down economic growth; medical costs and loss of primary earners burden and impoverished families; and cigarette waste pollutes the environment when toxins leak into the land and water. Nearly half of all children breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke and 65 000 children die each year due to illnesses related to second-hand smoke. Smoking while pregnant can lead to several life-long health conditions for babies.

WHO urges influencers – in pop culture, on social media, in the home, or in the classroom – who reach and connect with youth to expose the industries’ manipulative tactics to create a new generation of tobacco users. We need to empower youth to stand up to Big Tobacco by dispelling its lies and refusing to use its products.

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