According to the World Health Organization, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused millions of tobacco users to stop smoking. With almost 60% of tobacco users around the world wanting to quit smoking, but only 30% of the world population having access to quality tobacco cessation services, the WHO has launched a global campaign under the slogan “Commit to Quit” to celebrate World No Tobacco Day 2021.


Aiming to help 100 million people use tobacco through various initiatives and digital tools, the WHO’s campaign can help create healthier conditions that promote tobacco cessation.

Date:

World No Tobacco Day, celebrated every year on 31 May around the world, was created in 1987 by WHO member states to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.

History and importance:

In 1987, the World Health Assembly approved Resolution WHA40.38, which called for 7 April 1988 to be “a World No Smoking Day”. In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was adopted, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.

This annual celebration aims to raise awareness among world citizens about not only the dangers of tobacco use, but also the business practices of tobacco companies, what the WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.


Theme:

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2021 is “Commit to Stop”. Under this theme, the WHO seeks to promote tobacco cessation by supporting robust tobacco cessation policies, improving access to strike services, raising awareness of the tactics of the tobacco industry and supporting people who want to quit tobacco via Quit and Win initiatives.

Importance in the midst of Covid-19:

In a statement, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO said: “Smokers are up to 50% more likely to develop serious illness and death due to Covid-19, so quitting is the best thing that can happen. “smokers can do this to reduce their risk of coronavirus, as well as the risk of developing cancers, heart disease and respiratory diseases.”

He added: “We call on all countries to play their part by joining the WHO campaign and creating tobacco-free environments that give people the information, support and tools they need to quit and to stop forever. “


According to Dr Tilak Suvarna, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute, ā€œCovid mainly affects the lungs and smoking also damages the lungs. Global research suggests that there is a higher incidence of serious lung complications after Covid in smokers compared to non-smokers. The World Health Organization released a scientific commission earlier this year showing that smokers are at greater risk of developing serious illnesses and deaths due to Covid-19. “These findings of a negative impact on smoking should not come as a surprise, given that smokers are traditionally known to be more susceptible to infections, especially respiratory infections such as flu, pneumonia and tuberculosis.”

As smokers are more likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes, it is essential to note that all of these are important comorbidities for the development of serious diseases and the adverse effects on the clinical outcome in Covid- affected patients. Dr Tilak Suvarna elaborated on the weakening of the immune system and increased risk of Covid-19 transmission by smokers, revealing: “Tobacco smoke contains toxic chemicals that cause damage to the linings of the airways and lungs. The chemicals in tobacco smoke suppress the activity of different types of immune cells leading to weakening of immunity and thus impairing one’s ability to fight the Covid infection.


The act of smoking involves the fingers and possibly infected cigarettes coming into contact with the lips, thus increasing the risk of transmission of virus from hand to mouth. In addition, paw tobacco products are usually associated with saliva in public places, which also accelerates the risk of Covid transmission through saliva droplets. ā€

The WHO’s Quit Challenge apparently gives daily notices of tips and encouragement for up to 6 months to help people stay tobacco free. It is available for free on WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.

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