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Use World No Tobacco Day to stop smoking or die trying

Use World No Tobacco Day to stop smoking or die trying

Wednesday 31 May is World No Tobacco Day. On this day, for one day only, the Cancer Association of Namibia is asking all smokers to quit for one day, with a view to quit for life.

Issuing a stern warning about the inherent health risks of tobacco, the Cancer Association said earlier this week, the incidence of lung cancer is rising.

“With an average incidence rate of 53 cases per annum from 2010 to 2014 (161 male and 105 female) and the latest processed data already indicating 85 cases for 2015 and 65 cases for 2016, lung cancer is on the rise in Namibia” according to the Cancer Association’s National Cancer Registry.

The association’s Chief Executive, Rolf Hansen warned that smoking tobacco is not only responsible for lung cancer, but a multitude of other cancer types too. In clinical tests, the relationship between tobacco and Prostate Cancer, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Nasal, Oral & Esophagus Cancer, Bladder, Kidney & Pancreas Cancers, and Stomach, Colon & Rectal Cancer, has also been established.

“The main cause of lung cancer is tobacco use: Cigarettes, cigars and pipe; while hubbly-bubbly and second hand smoke exposure increase the risk, even to non-smokers” said Hansen, explaining that other serious health risks associated with smoking include damage to the heart and blood vessels, most important of which are those that supply blood to the brain.

Attributes from smoking also include ugly yellow and tooth decay, yellow fingers, smelly hair, wrinkled skin and even erectile dysfunction! High cholesterol, anxiety and poor vision and recurring colds and flu are all stimulated by tobacco and nicotine use.

Hansen continued “there is no safe way to smoke. Replacing your cigarette with a cigar, pipe, hookah or e-cigarette won’t help you avoid the health risks associated with tobacco products. Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients and when they burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals. Many of those chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them can cause cancer.”

“Cigars have a higher level of carcinogens, toxins, and tar than regular cigarettes. When using a hookah pipe, you’re likely to inhale more smoke than you would from a cigarette. Hookah smoke has many toxic compounds and exposes you to more carbon monoxide than cigarettes do. Hookahs also produce more secondhand smoke. Similarly, studies have shown that e-cigarettes are not at all as healthy as was initially promoted to be.”

“It is essential to monitor amounts and types of alcohol and tobacco consumption by Namibians with particular cancers, so that risk factors specific to this population can be determined, and preventative programmes instituted” the Cancer Association stated imploring all smokers to give up for one day, and then commit to a smoke-free life.

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The Economist accommodates two interns every year, one per semester. They are given less demanding, softer issues to hone their skills, often with a specific leaning to social issues. Today, many of our interns are respected journalists or career professionals at economic and financial institutions. - Ed.