‘World No Tobacco Day’ is celebrated every year on the 31st May.
This year 2019, the focus is around multiple ways that people are exposed to tobacco smoke and the effects that affect people’s lungs.
How tobacco endangers the lung health of people worldwide.
These include: Lung cancer. Tobacco smoking is the primary cause for lung cancer, responsible for over two thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. Second-hand smoke exposure at home or in the work place also increases risk of lung cancer. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer: after 10 years of quitting smoking, risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.
Chronic respiratory disease: Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition where the build-up of pus-filled mucus in the lungs results in a painful cough and agonizing breathing difficulties. The risk of developing COPD is particularly high among individuals who start smoking at a young age, as tobacco smoke significantly slows lung development. Tobacco also worsens asthma, which restricts activity and contributes to disability.
Across the life-course: Infants exposed in-utero to tobacco smoke toxins, through maternal smoking or maternal exposure to second-hand smoke, frequently experience reduced lung growth and function. Young children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of the onset of asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, and frequent lower respiratory infections.
Globally, an estimated 165, 000 children die before the age of five of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing COPD in adulthood.
Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB) damages the lungs and reduces lung function, which is further exacerbated by tobacco smoking. The chemical components of tobacco smoke can trigger latent infections of TB, which around a quarter of all people are infected with. Active TB, compounded by the damaging lung health effects of tobacco smoking, substantially increases risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.
Tobacco smoke is a very dangerous form of indoor air pollution: it contains over 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Though smoke may be invisible and odourless, it can linger in the air for up to five hours, putting those exposed at risk of lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and reduced lung function.
Smoking not permitted in workplaces: According to the Cook Islands Tobacco Control Legislation, smoking is not permitted within workplaces and, onto veranda/s or balconies that are connected to the main workplace’s building. Workplace managements are encouraged to take measures to promote smoke free policy.
“No Smoking” signs and Cessation Services: The Ministry of Health have ‘No Smoking’ signs if needed to strengthen smoke free policy.
Smoking Cessation services is still offering free: Counselling, Nicotine Replacement Therapies, Patches, Chewing Gums and Lozenges.