Commemoration Of World No Tobacco Day: Smokers Urged To Seek Counselling

Currently, more than 425, 200 men, 69,200 women and 2,700 boys are estimated to be using and smoking any form of tobacco product, while about 5,000 people are killed by tobacco-caused diseases each year in the country.

The GYTS fact sheet also indicates that the use of shisha had increased among young people in the country.

Every year, tobacco kills more than eight million people globally, with almost seven million of the deaths emanating directly from tobacco use, with around 1.2 million people dying due to exposure to smoke.

Smokers are also exposed to a lethal mixture of more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, including at least 70 known carcinogens that can damage nearly every organ in the human body.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also estimates that smoking causes over $500 billion in economic damage each year.


The Head of the Tobacco and Substances Abuse Department of the FDA, Dr Mrs Olivia Boateng, said the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed tobacco users to the disease, as hand-to-mouth contact during smoking and the sharing of the mouthpieces of shisha tubes could easily aid the spread of the virus.

She said a review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO on April 29, last year confirmed the higher risk of smokers to COVID-19 complications, along with other respiratory diseases.

The complications were as a result of compromised lung function arising from continuous exposure to tobacco toxins, she said.

According to Dr Boateng, 20 minutes of quitting smoking led to a drop in heart rate, while within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in a smoker’s blood would drop to normal.

Also, within two to 12 weeks, blood circulation would improve, with a corresponding increase in lung function, she added.

“Furthermore, in a spate of one to nine months, coughing and shortness of breath decreases, and within five to 15 years, the stroke risk of the smoker is reduced to that of a non-smoker,” she added.

Eventually, the risk of heart disease dropped to normal levels as that of a non-smoker within a period of 15 years, she noted.


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