„Don’t let tobacco take your breath away“
The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided that the focus of this year World No Tobacco Day is tobacco and its influence on lung health. Although the adverse effects on lung due to tobacco are well known, these diseases are still the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. Tobacco smoke is a very dangerous form of indoor air pollution: it contains over 7500 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer and it can linger in the air for up to 5 hours.
Tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke are causes of many serious diseases:
- Tobacco smoking is the main cause of lung cancer and is responsible for 70% to 90% lung cancer deaths worldwide. Second-hand smoke (SHS) increases the risk for lung cancer for 20-30%.
- Chronic obstructive lung disease is mostly the consequence of tobacco smoking, particularly among individuals who start smoking at the young age. Moreover, smoking exacerbates the symptoms of asthma.
- When mother smokes she exposes the unborn baby to tobacco smoke, and this results in reduces lung growth and function. Children exposure to tobacco smoke more frequently suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma onset and exacerbation, as well as from lower respiratory infections. Data indicate that annually 165 000 children younger than 5 die of lower respiratory diseases caused by second-hand smoke globally.
- There is more evidence that smoking further damages lung and reduces lung function in patients with tuberculosis (TB). Chemicals from tobacco smoke can even trigger the onset of tuberculosis. This increases the risk for disability and premature death.
World Health Organization emphases the high prevalence of lung diseases globally due to the tobacco smoking. In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of a one-third reduction in premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCD) by 2030, tobacco control must be a priority of all governments and communities around the world. Currently we are far from achieving this target. It is necessary that all governments fully implement the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control by adopting MPOWER measures and developing, implementing and enforcing the most effective tobacco control policies to reduce the demand for tobacco.
Citizens, families and other members of the community protect their own health by smoking cessation and preventing exposure to tobacco smoke, particularly of children.
More information on World No Tobacco Day can be found on the following web sites: WHO, Institute of Public Health of Serbia „Dr Milan Jovanović Batut“ and Institute of Public Health Belgrade.