Clear air: Call to end tobacco use for healthier future

It is no secret that smoking is a leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Tobacco products, including cigarettes, vapes and snuff, are not just addictive—they are harmful to your health and well-being. 

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Tobacco smoke contains around 7,000 chemicals, with at least 250 known to be toxic and over 60 known to cause cancer. Nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco, raises heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease and strokes. 

Tobacco smoke

Tar, a sticky residue in cigarette smoke, builds up in the lungs, leading to chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These substances significantly raise the chances of developing various cancers, accelerate aging and damage the skin.

But the dangers extend beyond the smoker. Second-hand smoke, the smoke exhaled by smokers or released from burning tobacco, poses serious health risks to those nearby, especially children and non-smokers. 

Exposure to second-hand smoke can cause respiratory infections, hinder lung development, reduce lung function, and even lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Death

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco use causes over eight million deaths annually. Despite these alarming figures, the tobacco industry continues to market its products aggressively worldwide, challenging the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

In Ghana, tobacco use remains a significant concern. The 2017 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) revealed that 8.8 per cent of students aged 13 to 15 use tobacco products, and 4.9 per cent use electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes and vapes.

No Tobacco Day

This year's No Tobacco Day emphasises protecting our children's futures by ensuring smoke-free environments. Let's clear the air so that our children can breathe freely, grow healthily, and thrive without the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

Join the campaign, say no to tobacco, and help pave the way for future generations to enjoy a healthier, smoke-free world. Despite the risks, many people remain addicted to cigarettes, shisha, cigars and other tobacco products.

However, it is never too late to quit and improve your health. There are numerous resources available to help you quit smoking for good, including smoking cessation programmes, support groups, and nicotine replacement therapies.

Before lighting another cigarette or grabbing a cigar, remember that your health and well-being are far more important than a fleeting moment of pleasure. It is time to put an end to tobacco use and embrace a healthy future. Let's make every day, a ‘No Tobacco Day’ and prioritise our children's health.

Together, we can create a healthier, smoke-free environment for future generations to flourish.

— Issued by by the Tobacco and Substance of Abuse Directorate, FDA

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