World No Tobacco Day 2010

by Thilaka Ravi on  May 29, 2010 at 12:36 PM Health In Focus
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"Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women"

World No Tobacco Day initiated by the World Health Organization, is observed on 31st May every year to draw world attention to the ill effects of tobacco use and to rein in tobacco consumption globally. "Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women"—WHO's theme for this year focuses on the newer dimensions of this key public health issue that is witnessing more women smokers in recent years. With the number of male tobacco users either dead or dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other tobacco related diseases, the tobacco industry is ensnaring young women perhaps as new users to keep the sales going.

Startling Tobacco Statistics from WHO

• 20% of the world's over 1 billion smokers are women
• 7% of adolescent girls and 12% of adolescent boys smoke
• Almost as many girls use tobacco as boys in some countries
• 10 million cigarettes are bought every minute globally
• 1 in 5 teens smokes cigarettes on a global average
• Every 8 seconds, someone in the world dies of a tobacco-related illness

Killer Tobacco

Tobacco used in any form - cigarettes or cigars, hand rolled tobacco, hookah, snuff, chewing tobacco leaves or gutkha can lead to health problems that can eventually turn fatal. Medical research in the 1900s proved beyond doubt that tobacco use can trigger heart attack, stroke, COPD, emphysema and a host of cancers including lung cancer and oral cancer. The presence of Nicotine, ambergris (also known as whale vomit) benzene (known to cause acute myeloid leukemia), radioactive lead and polonium, hydrogen cyanide and a host of other toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke make it even dangerous for hapless passive smokers or second hand smokers who are in the vicinity of those who smoke.

Cigarettes Lure Indian Women

It was usual for some western women to smoke cigarettes and some women from developing or underdeveloped countries to chew tobacco leaves until recent years. A couple of recent studies from India have shown that women smokers are on the rise in India, especially in the BPO sector and media industry.  The surveys showed 8% of women in BPO smoked, and the percentage of smoking women in the media ranged from 5%-35 %.  Reasons for smoking cited by the women include stress, boredom, peer pressure and having 'the money to burn' at a young age.

An alarming fact that emerged from the studies was that the women were not aware of the serious health implications, especially reproductive health problems. Smoking can cause infertility and miscarriages besides harming the baby in the womb irreparably.

"World No Tobacco Day" Agenda

This is the day when governments, non governmental organizations (NGOs) and the general public come together to organize various activities to sensitize people about the serious health problems that tobacco use can trigger. Demonstrations and public marches with vivid banners, educational programs and campaigns are launched in different parts of the world to discourage people from using tobacco in any form. Governments try to discourage smoking by imposing public smoking bans, increasing excise duty on tobacco products, promoting No Tobacco campaigns and ensuring tobacco products carry graphic warnings on the pack.

According to a recent WHO report both men and women need "full information about the sex-specific effects of tobacco use." This year the World Health Organization is highlighting the adverse effects of the tobacco industry targeting women and young girls.

"Kick the Butt" While You Can

There are ways and ways to quit smoking like taking a walk round the block when you feel the urge, pasting frightful images of diseases triggered by tobacco use on your wardrobe and work desk, spending quality time with family and friends and requesting a trusted companion to keep tabs on your tobacco use till you gradually kick the butt. There is even a Zen suggestion that says if you can stay away from the cigarette continuously for 21 days, you won't be a slave to it anymore.

The ultimate resolution to stop using tobacco and say Yes to life has to come from within a user. A 24-hour abstinence from tobacco on May 31st, 2010keeping in mind the potential health hazards of using tobacco, would be an ideal way to start the effort to kick the butt.

So, ladies and gentlemen and kiddos, don't hesitate to Say No to Tobacco.

Source: Medindia
Thilaka Ravi/S

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Yes, Monday is World No Tobacco day and two studies now show that unplanned quit smoking attempts are twice as likely to succeed as planned ones [less quitting date anticipation anxieties]. Why not just do it and jump into the quitting pool, a pool filled with life preservers. Life preservers? Yep, filled with the insights and new skills needed to make this quit the last you'll ever need! Join us at Why Quit! We've been waiting on you! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,



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