31 May is World No Tobacco Day – a day that was created in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. Here’s what you need to know today.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that tobacco growing and production leads to long term, global ecological harms and climate change, impacting food security. Currently, tobacco is grown in over 125 countries as a cash crop, over an estimated area of four-million hectares, which is an area larger than the country of Rwanda. The harmful effects of the cultivation on the environment are particularly apparent in low- and middle-income countries, states the WHO.
Outside of the negative environmental impacts, we also know now that smoking tobacco is particularly harmful to your health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
The unexpected side effects of smoking tobacco
The American Lung Association reports that smoking is responsible for many other diseases and health issues not typically mentioned. These are:
– Type-2 Diabetes
– Erectile Dysfunction
– Ectopic Pregnancy
– Cleft lip and palate
– and Gum disease
We know that quitting smoking is not easy. It is, after all, an addictive substance that’s available on nearly every street corner in South Africa. But help is out there. Speak to your medical doctor for the best way to proceed – and how you can build a sustainable healthy lifestyle.