Around the world, there are many campaigns that discourage smoking and the use of tobacco. Every year on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners celebrate the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).
This year’s theme “tobacco and lung health” aims to spread and increase awareness on the dangers of tobacco on our lungs which includes a wide range of illnesses from chronic respiratory disease to cancer. The campaign also advocates for effective government policies that support the fight for tobacco control.
In the UAE’s National Agenda, one of the key performance indicators of the pillar of world-class healthcare is the reduced consumption of cigarettes and tobacco products. The federal law of the country forbids smoking in private cars when a child under the age of 12 is present and selling of tobacco products to those less than 18 years old, amongst other regulations.
“The law protects the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences generated from smoking tobacco and inhaling its smoke,” said UAE Health Minister H.E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim.
What do we know about tobacco use?
Here are some statistics from WHO.
- Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
- It kills one person every four seconds.
- No level of tobacco exposure is risk-free.
- Around the world, 8 million deaths are caused by tobacco annually.
- Every year, over 1 million deaths are caused by secondhand smoke.
- The most common cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoking and it causes about 1.2 million lung cancer deaths annually. Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke at home or in the workplace have a 30% higher risk of developing lung cancer.
- Smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer. Smokers are 5-10 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers.
- Tuberculosis or TB is the top infectious killer in the world. About one quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, placing them at risk of developing the active disease. Smoking substantially increases the risk of TB and death from TB. Second-hand smoke also increases the risk of progression from latent TB infection to active disease.
- Approximately 235 million people currently suffer from asthma and around one in nine asthma deaths can be attributed to tobacco smoking.
- Tobacco smoking is the most important risk factor for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and almost 50% of COPD deaths are attributable to smoking.
- Lung function improves within just two weeks of quitting tobacco use.
- Quitting as soon as possible is crucial in preventing the onset of chronic lung disease, which is potentially irreversible once it has developed.