World Health Organization (WHO) has released a publication titled “More than 100 reasons to quit tobacco” to mark its year-long global campaign for World No Tobacco Day 2021 called ‘Commit to Quit’.
“When evidence was released this year that smokers were more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers, it triggered millions of smokers to want to quit tobacco. Quitting can be challenging, especially with the added social and economic stress that have come as a result of the pandemic, but there are a lot of reasons to quit,” WHO mentioned in the article.
Following are some of the reasons WHO mentioned:
*Tobacco affects the way you look: WHO’s article highlighted how tobacco causes yellowing of teeth and creates dental plaque and bad breath. It also makes the skin “wrinkly” by wearing away proteins that give the skin elasticity, depleting it of vitamin A and restricting blood flow. Tobacco smoking increases the risk of developing psoriasis, a noncontagious inflammatory skin condition that leaves itchy, oozing red patches all over the body.
*It threatens the health of family and friends: Second-hand smoke also impacts health negatively, research has shown. WHO mentioned that over “one million people die every year from exposure to second-hand smoke”. Exposure to second-hand smoke may increase “the risk of progression from tuberculosis infection to active disease”. It is also associated with type 2 diabetes.
*It can affect children: Smokers’ children suffer reduced lung function, which continues to affect them in the form of chronic respiratory disorders in adulthood, mentioned WHO. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are also at risk for asthma through inflammation of airways to the lungs. “Children under 2 years of age who are exposed to second-hand smoke in the home could get middle-ear disease possibly leading to hearing loss and deafness,” it added.
*It is an expensive habit: WHO mentioned, “One study found that smokers burn through an average of $1.4 million in personal costs, includes spending on cigarettes, medical costs and lower wages brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.” It added, “Tobacco use burdens the global economy with an estimated $1.4 trillion in healthcare costs for treating the diseases caused by tobacco and lost human capital from tobacco-attributable sickness and death.”
*Smoking reduces fertility: Studies have shown how smoking can impact men’s or women’s fertility. It can also cause erectile dysfunction by restricting blood flow to the genitals. It can also diminish sperm count, motility and the shape of the sperm in men.
*Heated tobacco products (HTPs) have harmful effects: HTPs expose users to toxic emissions which can be cancerous. “Smokers are up to 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer in their lifetime than non-smokers. Tobacco smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer, causing over two-thirds of lung cancer deaths globally,” WHO mentioned.
*Smokers more likely to lose vision and hearing: According to WHO, smoking can cause many eye diseases, if left untreated. Smokers are at a higher risk of cataracts or even glaucoma, apart from hearing loss.
*Tobacco pollutes the environment: Smoking can contribute to a rise in pollution levels. “Cigarette butts are among the most commonly discarded piece of waste globally and are the most frequent item of litter picked up on beaches and water edges worldwide…Hazardous substances have been identified in cigarette butts – including arsenic, lead, nicotine and formaldehyde. These substances are leached from discarded butts into aquatic environments and soil,” stated WHO.
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