Don’t let the smoke exhaust you- say NO to TOBACCO!

May 31, 2024 | News | 0 comments

Every year on 31st of May ,we join hands to celebrate World No Tobacco Day! It’s not a mere celebration but an attempt to make the public aware of harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use alongside tactics used by tobacco industries to thrive themselves. What WHO has done so far to fight this epidemic and what the public can do to claim their right to health are also given a special focus of attention on this particular day.

Tobacco,also known as Nicotiana by its scientific name owing to the notorious substance “nicotine” it contains makes its way into the market in the forms of cigarettes, cigars,snuffsand snug etc. Newer and fancier forms such as e-cigarettesmore commonly known as vaping in slang and by many other names have taken a special interest among the youth,sadly. Even though,e-cigarettes ‘claim’ itself as a safe alternative to usual tobacco containing cigarettes,it still does contain nicotine and is just as harmful as the normal cigarette. There’s NO SAFE OPTION when it comes to tobacco,mind you. All options available are more or less dangerous and detrimental to your health. 

Smoking is a major risk factor in the development of non-communicable diseases (NCD) alongside alcohol consumption. What’s ironic is that, alcohol and tobacco related products are considered the only recreational drugs to be of legal use but this makes you wonder  at what cost ?

Smoking and cancer go hand in hand. For more than half of the cancers smoking serves a risk factor. Tobacco itself contains around 40000 chemicals in which more than 40 are known to be carcinogens. It’s funny how despite knowing this ,people still tend to continue smoking. Truly disheartening!Not only cancer but for causation of high blood pressure,stroke and even heart attack,smoking rightfully plays its role. Tobacco ruins your physical health not to forget your mental health and of course your socioeconomic status. 

Addiction is another important issue that surrounds tobacco use. Although many alternatives have been put forwarded that supposedly aid addicts to put an end to its use,recent studies have shown they’re of very less value. Hence,all what it takes to put an end to addiction is their will power and disgust towards the product. Simple as that. It might seem impossible but then again,nothing is impossible!

If something bad happens,don’t we always tend to put the blame on someone else ? Like how we’ve always prepared ourselves to blame the government for the mishaps that occur in which we could also be a part of the reason. To fight the tobacco epidemic,Sri Lankan government have come up with enough measures.

1)Tax – Excising taxes and increasing prices of tobacco products. (smart but this can avert targeted population to resort to itheroptions like cannabis !!)

2)Packaging – Large graphic health warnings on all tobacco packages covering 80%. 

3)Advertising,promotion and sponsorship- Enforcement of comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising ,promotion and sponsorship. (Remember the blurred scenes and advertising strips on TV?)

4)Smoke free public places – This most importantly eliminate exposure to second hand smoke  in all indoor workplaces,public places and public transport. 

5)Education – Implementation of effective mass media campaigns and education the public about harms of smoking /tobacco use and second hand smoking (passive smoking) and the list goes on. 

What’s left to say is that fighting tobacco epidemic isn’t a one way process,it needs equal contribution from all parties involved. Government have already played its part,now it is upto you to decide whether to sit back and uselessly put the blame on another party or to just stand up for yourself once and for all and fight and win your own battle.

Smoking is not okay and it will never be.

Written by: Rtr. Inuri Hettiarachchi

Graphic design by: Rtr. Sathmi Dinanja

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