World No Tobacco Day

May 31st 2019 marks the World No Tobacco Day, a date that promotes the awareness of the harmful effects that tobacco can have on the human body. Recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the annual event discourages the use of first and second-hand smoke exposure in hopes of establishing positive habits for a healthier life. It further poses as a call to action campaign to advocate new policies that reduce tobacco consumption and to engage stakeholders in the industry and fight for a more regulated control on tobacco use.

The focus of this year’s event is on ‘tobacco and lung health’ which examines the topics on the negative impact of tobacco on human’s lungs and what role does the lungs play for one’s health and well-being.  Some of their goals for this year’s theme include sparking attention on the emerging evidence on the connection between tobacco smoking and tuberculosis death as well as examining the importance of lung health and how to achieve this.

Exposing oneself to tobacco can cause a contrary effect on one’s body as it reduces the health of the user. Smoking can cause harm to almost every organ in the body and can be the cause of many diseases like cardiovascular disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or other serious lung diseases. There is also the primary common risk of certain oral cancer, pre-cancer like leukoplakia and oral epithelial dysplasia and potentially noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Some statistics show that tobacco use in itself can cause more deaths each year than alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) combined. Among the WHO regions, Europe, has been prevalent to the daily usage of tobacco smoking among adults with ranges of 10 to 38% as of 2018. The region has also seen an increase of adolescents taking part in the addiction as several types of smokeless devices are now profusely marketed to attract a younger audience. Epidemiological studies done on these products have shown the evidence of toxic ingredients, like nicotine and nitrosamines, present and therefore can still pose the threat of gum disease, oral and pre-cancer.

Fortunately, the harms of tobacco usage are preventable. Special days like the World No Tobacco Day promote well needed awareness to the dangers of tobacco usage where you can participate and share the message to others in the hopes for a healthier and flourishing life.

References:

  1. World No Tobacco Day, May 2019, WHO
  2. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking- Smoking and Tobacco use, CDC
  3. Smoking and interstitial lung diseases, 2015, ERS 
  4. Smoking and Respiratory Diseases, John Hopkins Medicine 
  5. Fact Sheet: Tobacco and Oral Health, 2018, WHO