Anti-tobacco day is a global awareness campaign that aims to educate people about the harmful effects of tobacco use and to encourage people to quit smoking and using other tobacco products. The day is observed annually on May 31st and is organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to mark the death of tobacco control pioneer, Dr. Herbert L. Lehman, who died on May 31st, 1963, as a result of lung cancer caused by his smoking habit.
Tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable death and disease worldwide, responsible for the deaths of nearly 8 million people each year. It is a major risk factor for a wide range of non-communicable diseases, including lung cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and cardiovascular disease.
The Harmful Effects of Tobacco Use
Tobacco use has a wide range of harmful effects on the health of both smokers and non-smokers. The most well-known effect of smoking is lung cancer, which is responsible for approximately 85% of all lung cancer deaths. In addition to lung cancer, smoking also increases the risk of other types of cancer, including head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, and cervical cancer.
Smoking also harms the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease. It also harms the reproductive system and can cause infertility in both men and women. Secondhand smoke, also called passive smoke, is also responsible for causing serious health problems among non-smokers, including lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory infections.
The Benefits of Quitting
Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term health benefits for smokers of all ages. As soon as you quit smoking, your body begins to repair the damage caused by tobacco use. Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Within 24 hours, the risk of heart attack begins to decrease. Over time, the risk of developing smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke decreases.
Quitting smoking also has financial benefits. Smoking is a costly habit, and quitting can save a significant amount of money over time. In addition, quitting smoking can also have positive effects on the environment by reducing the amount of pollutants caused by smoking and tobacco production.
Strategies for Quitting
Quitting smoking is not easy, and it often takes multiple attempts before a person is successful. However, there are a number of strategies and resources available to help smokers quit. These include:
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as gum, patches, and lozenges, which can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Medications, such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Champix), which can also help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Counseling and support groups, which can provide emotional support and motivation to help smokers quit.
Digital aids, such as smartphone apps and online support communities, which can provide personalized resources and support for quitting.
In addition to these strategies, it’s important for individuals to have a strong support system, such as friends and family, who can help them through the quitting process.