WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY, “Tobacco and heart disease".
May 31 each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners recognize World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and other risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on “Tobacco and heart disease." The campaign seeks to increase awareness on the link between tobacco and heart and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including stroke, which combined are the world’s leading causes of death and feasible actions and measures that key audiences, including governments and the public, can take to reduce the risks to heart health posed by tobacco.
World No Tobacco Day 2018 coincides with a range of global initiatives and opportunities aimed at addressing the tobacco epidemic and its impact on public health, particularly in causing the death and suffering of millions of people globally. These actions include the WHO-supported Global Hearts and RESOLVE initiatives, which aim to reduce cardiovascular disease deaths and improve care.
It is worth noting that tobacco use is an important risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Despite the known harms of tobacco to heart health, and the availability of solutions to reduce related death and disease, knowledge among large sections of the public that tobacco is one of the leading causes of CVD is low.
Talking to Dr. Ndo Akono, Internist at the Bamenda Regional Hospital, he holds that tobacco consumption affects the whole system. It makes the blood vessels hard, thickens them and the lumen becomes narrow and prevents blood from being pumped to the heart muscles. There are people who are addicted to smoking so much that they cannot refrain from smoking in public which has a great impact on passive smokers, Dr. Ndo said. According to Dr. Ndo, diseases common with smokers are a heart attack, cancer of the lungs, throat, bladder, chronic obstructive bronchitis, sinuses, right heart failure, and premature birth for pregnant women. Inhaling the smoke is as dangerous as smoking, he added. To these passive smokers Dr. Ndo advised that once they find themselves in a smoking area, they should quit in order to avoid inhaling the gas. For such reasons, there are always notices in public places like “No Smoking” because of the effect it has on the passive smokers.
According to WHO fact sheet, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill more people than any other cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 17% of all heart disease deaths. Tobacco use is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure. The global tobacco epidemic kills more than 7 million people each year, of which close to 900 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. Nearly 80% of the more than 1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the incidence of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
The WHO MPOWER measures are in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and can be used by governments to reduce tobacco use and protect people from NCDs. These measures include:
· Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies;
· Protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke by creating completely smoke-free indoor public places, workplaces, and public transport;
· Offer help to quit tobacco (cost-covered, population-wide support, including brief advice by health care providers and national toll-free quit lines);
· Warn about the dangers of tobacco by implementing plain/standardized packaging, and/or large graphic health warnings on all tobacco packages, and implementing effective anti-tobacco mass media campaigns that inform the public about the harm caused by tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.
· Enforce comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and
· Raise taxes on tobacco products and make them less affordable.
Goals of the World No Tobacco Day 2018 campaign
World No Tobacco Day 2018 equally aims at:
· Providing opportunities for the public, governments, and others to make commitments to promote heart health by protecting people from use of tobacco products.
· Encourage countries to strengthen implementation of the proven MPOWER tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC.
In a word to the population Dr. Ndo says for smokers, he advises that they stop and appeals to family members of those who smoke as well as spouses who have smokers as husbands or wives to equally make them know the risks that are involved therein. Others do it indoors and call it responsible smoking women inclusive. Whether indoors or outdoors, the damages to health remain the same.
Pedmia Shatu Tita