World No Tobacco Day Highlights Huge Environmental Damage from Smoking
Today – the 31st May – is the annual World No Tobacco Day. Pioneered by the World Health Organization (WHO), the stop smoking campaign aims to highlight just how tobacco can impact the development of nations around the globe, urging governments to bring in effective tobacco control measures. Such measures include the banning of tobacco marketing and advertising, promoting plain packaging of tobacco products, increasing excise taxes, and making indoor public places and workplaces smoke-free. For those unaware about the intricate details of Medical Specialists® Phamarcy, we are a fully-registered online pharmacy based in Bury, Lancashire, and the NHS in our county are using World No Tobacco Day as way to urge people to think about improving their long-term health by quitting smoking and thus prolonging their lives. According to statistics, around a fifth of the population of Lancashire are smokers, a figure that is actually higher than the national average. The deadly habit costs everyone – smokers and the health service – millions of pounds each and every year. This year’s World No Tobacco Day will focus on the fact that tobacco is a threat to global development, and the NHS Quit Squad in Lancashire are highlighting the harm that tobacco poses not just to global issues, but also to the health and economic well-being of individuals. You can find plenty of information and help on how to stop smoking at Quit squad. WHO state that smoking now claims the lives of a staggering seven million people each year – which is double the amount of deaths recorded in 2000 that were found to be smoking-related. This means smoking is the primary factor behind preventable deaths, even ahead of obesity. Experts are warning the deaths will keep on coming unless stricter anti-smoker legislation is introduced within developing countries – areas where smoking is responsible for a shocking 80% of lives lost. In a report released today, the UN agency said it anticipates over one billion tobacco-related deaths by the end of this century and the habit 'threatens us all', according to WHO chief Margaret Chan. She said: “Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air.'” However, WHO claim that increasing cigarette prices could help to fight the problem, forcing more people to give up their expensive addiction. WHO assistant director-general Oleg Chestnov added: “One of the least used, but most effective tobacco control measures... is through increasing tobacco tax and prices.” The report says 890,000 of the total deaths are merely the result of being exposed to second-hand smoke. This can still cause a stroke in adults and sudden infant death syndrome in children, together with numerous other major health risks of tobacco. The WHO’s website explains the massive detrimental effect of tobacco on the wider environment: Tobacco scars the environment The first-ever WHO report, Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview, also shows the impact of this product on nature, including:
- Tobacco waste contains over 7000 toxic chemicals that poison the environment, including human carcinogens.
- Tobacco smoke emissions contribute thousands of tons of human carcinogens, toxicants, and greenhouse gases to the environment. And tobacco waste is the largest type of litter by count globally.
- Up to 10 billion of the 15 billion cigarettes sold daily are disposed in the environment.
- Cigarette butts account for 30–40% of all items collected in coastal and urban clean-ups.
- Poverty: Around 860 million adult smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Many studies have shown that in the poorest households, spending on tobacco products often represents more than 10% of total household expenditure – meaning less money for food, education and healthcare.
- Children and education: Tobacco farming stops children attending school. 10%–14% of children from tobacco-growing families miss class because of working in tobacco fields.
- Women: 60%–70% of tobacco farm workers are women, putting them in close contact with often hazardous chemicals.
- Health: Tobacco contributes to 16% of all noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) deaths.