Thursday, 31 May is World No Tobacco Day, a World Health Organisation (WHO) day dedicated to highlighting why tobacco is harmful to your body, and why quitting is life-saving. Roche's cancer education platform, Be Cancer Aware, is inviting all smokers in South Africa to quit for the day. You can help promote the campaign and show that you're "too cool to smoke" by wearing your sunglasses to work on the day.
"World No Tobacco day is celebrated by WHO and other health organisations around the globe. Roche supports such initiatives and hope to raise awareness amongst tobacco users and their friends about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke. Smoking can increase your chances of contracting lung and heart problems, as well as cancer," says Dr. Cindy Aitton, head of medical affairs at Roche. Most common cause of lung cancer
Smoking or chewing tobacco, and using snuff, can lead to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, emphysema and cancer. The most common cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking, which is associated with at least 80% of all diagnoses, according to the WHO World Cancer Report. According to another report, this one published by the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Southern Africa.
Dr. Greg Hart, a Cape Town based oncologist with a special interest in lung cancer, says smoking or tobacco use is the single-most preventable cause of death in the world. "We also know that smoking is one of the most common risk factors for lung cancer. Harmful substances in smoke can damage lung cells and that is why smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars can cause lung cancer. This is also why second-hand smoke can cause lung cancer in non-smokers. Smoking causes other cancers as well, such as cancers of the throat, mouth and oesophagus."
No safe level of smoking
The aim of this initiative is to create awareness about tobacco addiction and the detrimental effect it has on the body. "There's no safe level of smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke. This is why governments have made the decision to prohibit smoking in public areas," Dr. Aitton continues.
If you're a smoker, take this opportunity to kick the habit on 31 May World No Tobacco Day and notice the changes in your health, and the people around you. Both smokers and non-smokers can show their support by wearing a pair of sunglasses to work, or dressing in something "cool" and fun during the day.