What You Need to Know Ahead of World No Tobacco Day 2018
What You Need to Know Ahead of World No
Tobacco Day 2018
Tobacco is a global problem. Not only does it damage your health – it damages tobacco growing communities and the environment. Tobacco also adds to global poverty with people choosing to buy a cigarette over food due to the intense addiction. It is no wonder then that the world needs to collectively say ‘no’ to tobacco.
World No Tobacco Day takes place every year on 31st May. The World Health Organization (WHO) has promoted World No Tobacco Day as an annual awareness day since 1987. The aim of this day is to emphasise the health risks associated with smoking to inspire smokers to stop and to try to drive governments across the world to change their policies to encourage people to quit the habit.
Why is this day important when we already know the dangers of smoking?
Most people know that smoking is harmful for your health; it’s even spelt out on the cigarette packet. Teenagers often start smoking on the basis that it is rebellious and they are doing something damaging and dangerous.
However, when you are addicted to smoking it can be easy to overlook the health warnings, or simply shrug them off. Apathy is a very real danger amongst smokers. Perhaps we simply get used to the familiar health risks, so much so that they fail to scare. Many people live in the moment without thinking about the future until it is too late.
Another aspect to consider is the fact that many smokers are often vulnerable and take up smoking to help relax due to mental health problems, chronic stress or the worry of economic hardships (ironically, due to the high cost of smoking).
According to WHO, tobacco use tragically kills more than 7 million people around the world each year – and that number is predicted to grow unless action is taken. This is a global crisis and one that we simply can’t afford to overlook.
If World No Tobacco Day makes you stop just for a second to think about your smoking habit, it is a good thing. Here are some hard facts to help convince you that now is the time to quit – it is never too late. Smoking damages most of the body’s organs. It is linked to:
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
- Skin damage
- Oral cancer
There are a deadly mix of over 7,000 stomach churning chemicals in cigarette smoke, some of which are cancer causing including:
- Carbon monoxide – also found in car fumes
- Ammonia – also used in industrial-strength cleaning solutions
- Hydrogen cyanide – also used in chemical weapons
- Tar – which sticks to the smoker’s lungs
- Benzene – also found in petrol
Here are some more negative consequences to smoking:
- Bad breath
- Increase in fillings and gum disease
- Slower healing
- Discoloured and stained teeth
What is the World No Tobacco Day 2018 theme?
Each year, World No Tobacco Day has a different theme to focus on. This year, the theme is ‘tobacco and heart disease’ and aims to increase awareness in the link between heart disease and smoking to get governments and individuals to take action.
Heart disease kills more people than any other cause of death. Tobacco use (including second-hand smoke) contributes to around 12% of all heart disease deaths. Blood clots are also more common amongst smokers.
Cigarettes damage the living of your arteries leading to a fatty build up which causes a stroke or angina. The carbon monoxide in the cigarette smoke also limits oxygen reaching your blood stream. Your heart is therefore forced to work harder. The nicotine also forces your heart to work harder, causing strain and increasing blood pressure – the highest cause of heart disease.
What types of government initiatives does World No Tobacco Day 2018 try to encourage?
It is vital that governments around the world put policies into place to stamp out the million of avoidable deaths caused by smoking. These initiatives are hugely supportive, some examples are:
- Increasing tax on tobacco products
- Smoke-free public places
- Bans on tobacco advertising
- Graphic health warnings on tobacco products
- Anti-tobacco media campaigns
- Free phone lines to help people quit
The message is clear: quit smoking to live longer
It is never too late. Quitting smoking will improve your heart health, thereby decreasing the chance of heart disease. Ditching the cigarettes will also reduce the risk of cancer, lung disease and stroke.
You will also gain more money in your back pocket – the average smoker saves £150 a month when they quit. Just think about what you can spend that extra cash on!
Grab World No Tobacco 2018 as the incentive to stop smoking – there really has been no better time. Quitting success rates are higher than ever in Yorkshire with a strong anti-smoking culture and more option available than ever to help you.
Today you can try e-cigarettes, meet with an adviser, join a clinic, call free helplines, or use apps to stop smoking on your mobile phone. In fact, the smoking rate in North Yorkshire is at an all-time low – the figures are encouraging – if you are still smoking, it’s time to add yourself to that percentage of successful quitters.
E-cigarettes are believed to be 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco and are encouraged by the NHS as a way of gently phasing out tobacco. This is deemed much more realistic as opposed to the ‘cold turkey’ approach.
Through the adoption of this harm reduction strategy, the UK is fast becoming the European leader with success rates for quitting smoking at an all time high.
How can I quit smoking?
There are a number of ways to quit smoking.
- Pick a quitting date – if you choose the 31st May you will be in good company across the globe! You are more likely to succeed with the collective boost of others doing the same.
- Write down the reasons to quit and pin it to your wall to inspire you.
- E-cigarettes are particularly powerful when combined with support from stop smoking services. People who choose to vape have some of the highest quitting success rates.
- Throw away lighters, ashtrays and unfinished packets of cigarettes – they will only remind you of smoking and provoke your craving.
- The NHS provide you with a service to lean on to help you stop smoking – ask your GP for more details, you are not alone.
- Take up exercise as a way to curb cravings and get fit. You will soon be addicted to a healthier lifestyle and the feeling it gives you!
- Go for a walk if you are craving lighting up after a meal.
- Celebrate the milestones! Circle dates in the diary that once you reach without smoking a cigarette you can treat yourself.
- Put the money you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar and think about what you can spend it on – a mini break, a meal out, some new clothes – the ideas are endless.
World Tobacco Day offers a great incentive to start your journey to quitting smoking. However, you don’t need an official day to stop smoking. If you would like to quit you can set your own timeline, for example by trying to stop smoking before a holiday or birthday. The key is that an event boosts your willpower and highlights the reasons why you need to do this now – finding a reason to give up will always be advantageous.