This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to healthy living and to protect future generations.
More than 100 reasons to quit tobacco
The benefits of quitting tobacco are almost immediate. After just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate drops. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Within 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves and lung function increases. Within 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Within 5-15 years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. Within 10 years, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is comparable to a non-smokers.
Here are a few reasons why it’s worth quitting smoking:
- When you buy tobacco, you are financially supporting an industry that exploits farmers and children
It threatens the health of your friends and family – not just you
- Tobacco affects your look almost immediately. Tobacco makes your skin wrinkly, making you look older faster.
- Smoking prematurely ages the skin by wearing away proteins that give the skin elasticity, depleting it of vitamin A and restricting blood flow. Moreover, tobacco makes your teeth yellow and creates excess dental plaque, not mentioning the never ending smell on your skin and clothes.
- It’s expensive - you could be spending your money on more important things
- Tobacco use has negative social consequences
- Smoking reduces your fertility
- Tobacco causes over 20 types of cancer
- Tobacco harms almost every organ of the body
- Tobacco pollutes the environment
Smoking among teenagers
So what actions can we undertake to prevent people from smoking?
Parents and other caregivers can:
- Set a good example by being tobacco-free
- Talk to kids about the harms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes
- Know what children watch, and talk about tobacco use onscreen
- Tell kids you expect them not to use tobacco products, or to stop using them
- Refuse to give tobacco products to kids, teens, or young adults
Healthcare providers can:
- Talk to their patients about the dangers of tobacco use
- Ask patients if they use tobacco products, and advise them to quit
- CDC offers resources and tools to help providers start the conversation about tobacco and quitting.
States and communities can:
- Fund state tobacco control programs
- Work to limit tobacco product advertising
- Use science-based strategies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, like tobacco price increases, hard-hitting media campaigns, adopting comprehensive smoke-free laws, licensing tobacco sellers, and limiting where tobacco products can be sold
- Provide barrier-free access to treatments proven to help people quit
It’s common knowledge that smoking is harmful for the users. However, let’s think not only about ourselves. Our friends and relatives would love to spend more time with us too. Choice is yours but don’t be late.
Kasia is a Polish volunteer in Praxis organisation involved in the No Tobacco Day campaign.