Speaking to Health-e News, Medical Director at Pfizer South Africa, Dr Bha Ndungane-Tlakula described smoking as one of the more harmful habits for overall health. “It affects most organs in the body, so much so that if you smoke tobacco products, you are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than if you do not smoke,” said Ndungane-Tlakula.
According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco smoking is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people a year globally. Over seven million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to secondhand smoke.
Commit to quit
This year the World No Tobacco Day is being celebrated under the theme “Commit to Quit”. Years of documented research and studies have shown that nicotine, the chemical found in tobacco products, is addictive.
“Quitting smoking can be difficult. But, if it is coupled with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy body weight, reducing alcohol consumption and regular exercise, it may add more than a decade of life expectancy during adulthood. Speak to your healthcare professional who can advise on the best solutions to help you live a better life for tomorrow today,” advised Ndungane-Tlakula.
Making healthier choices
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa also advocates for better health choices. It cites heart disease and stroke as the second biggest killers in South Africa, after HIV. As part of its recommendations for better heart health, it discourages tobacco use.