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WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY

Have you ever asked yourself why a lot of people keep smoking, yet it’s clearly written on the boxes of cigarettes that “smoking kills” and the tobacco industry is still one of the thriving industries globally despite all the economic transitions and hardships that have going on in various countries. I’ve asked myself this question but I’m not able to arrive at a convincing answer probably someone would someday. I once engaged a former colleague in conversation while in school a few years back and posed the same question and his response was shocking, he said “one thing must kill a man, you smoke or not, everyone will die at one point in time”.

More shocking is that the producers of tobacco are well aware of the effects of their products, how addictive it is and its potentials of causing multi-systemic disabilities, but it doesn’t look like production is going halt anytime soon. Another disheartening fact is the way this industry has become more creative in its reached and is being glamorized to the youths through creation of electronic cigars and different flavorings.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco smoking the foremost cause of death, disability and poverty in various nations of the world and approximately 8 million people die annually from diseases caused by harmful effects of tobacco smoke and this number includes about 1.3 million people who are non-smokers but are exposed to second-hand smoke. This evidence shows that even families or friends of smokers aren’t exempted from the brunt of smoking, and it is researched that tobacco has the potential of killing up to a half of its user who fail to quit smoking.

Nicotine, the major ingredient in tobacco has been recognized as the reason behind its addictive nature and is responsible for conditions like lung cancer and cancers involving other parts of the body, chronic respiratory problems, increases susceptibility to high blood pressure and diabetes, hearing loss and vision loss among a myriad of other health problems. A number of countries like New Zealand, Uruguay and Norway since 2004 have been able to completely put a ban to the smoking of tobacco in public places, thereby promoting the health of their people.

In a bid to continuously create awareness and push towards a tobacco-free world, we would like to debunk some common age-old tobacco myths and offer some healthier alternatives.

Five common Tobacco Myths

Myth 1: Occasional smoking poses no harm- most people believe that if they smoke just probably two or thrice a week they’d be exempted from the overall effects of smoking

Truth: For every puff you take, there is damage being caused to your body cells

Myth 2: E-cigarettes are a safer option- with the varieties have been developed, people are being deceived into thinking e-cigarettes are harmless

Truth: Studies have shown that the aerosol from these e-cigars can equally cause damaging effects to the lungs and cause nicotine addiction.

Myth 3: It’s my choice and I’m the only one affected.

Truth: Secondhand smoke can cause significant health problems for those who are constantly around the smoker.

Myth 4: It’s too late to quit: when smokers are encouraged to quit, many give the excuse that it’s too late and that the damage has been done

Truth: When a person stops smoking, there’s an immediate improvement to their health; heart rate and blood pressure reduce and even the lungs begin to function better.

Myth 5: Smoking affects only the lungs.

Truth: In actual sense, smoking is a risk factor for approximately 17 other types of cancer including breast and pancreatic cancer. Smoking affects the heart, damages the gums and promotes tooth decay, can affect the throat and many other organs of the body.

 

For people who have gotten into the habit of smoking to relieve stress or as a means to ‘forget their problems’ or probably you’re just looking into healthy and beneficial alternatives and activities to indulge as a means of relaxation, here are a few tips:

Healthy alternatives to smoking/tips to help stop smoking

  1. Avoid isolation and be accountable: Be in the company of people that will keep you accountable reminding you of your goal
  2. Develop a hobby: Try reading, playing board games or even engaging in exercise which has overall health benefits.
  3. Create a reward system for yourself: Save up the money that you could’ve used in purchasing cigarettes to purchase a gift item or take yourself on a long-desired vacation.
  4. Have alternatives nearby: You could make use of sweets, lozenges or chew on gum when cravings set in.
  5. Explore relaxation techniques: Stress is a major concerning in this present-day world but engaging in stress relieving practices like medication, listening to calm music and going for a massage can be very helpful.
  6. Consciously remind yourself of the benefits of not smoking: You could do this by writing them down or saying them out loud what you stand to gain by not engaging in smoking practices.
  7. Join support groups: Join stop-smoking programs, or register for blogs that would be sending you information that could stand as reminders
  8. Get professional help: Dealing with an addiction takes time so you might need to talk with your healthcare provider on steps that can be beneficial to you.

The tobacco industry may seem to be advancing but you and I can keep the creating awareness so that the younger generation is protected from being penetrated by this dangerous vice. Remember doing little is way better than doing nothing.

Are you yet to have a primary healthcare provider and have no idea on how to go about it. Reach out to us at HCI Healthcare and we’d be more than willing to put you through.

Tobacco still kills whether it comes in shisha or e-cigarettes!!

Written By:
Rebecca Adeleke-Adesanmi, BSc. Nur., MA, Healthcare Mgt.
Health & Wellness Advocate.

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