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World No Tobacco Day: Health experts urge people to quit smoking | India News


NEW DELHI: Tobacco use has long been associated with lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But, a recent guide from the World Health Organization (WHO) states that smokers face a 40-50 percent higher risk of developing serious illness and death from Covid-19. Health experts have urged smokers to quit smoking, as it is more necessary than ever.
World No Tobacco Day is celebrated on May 31 of each year. This year’s theme is “Commit to Quitting Smoking.”
“Given the correlation between the severity of Covid-19 and tobacco, the need to raise awareness on how to end tobacco use has never been more critical. World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is an opportunity to raise awareness about the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco, use and exposure to second-hand smoke, and discourage the use of tobacco in any form, “said Dr Roderico H Ofrin, WHO Representative in India, in a statement.
“This year’s theme for WNTD ‘Commit to Quit’ aims to support 100 million people around the world in their attempts to quit tobacco through various initiatives. We must all help create healthier environments that are conducive to stop using tobacco, “Ofrin added.
According to the WHO, the act of smoking means that the fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with the lips, increasing the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth. Smokeless tobacco users can spread the disease by spitting.
“There is growing evidence that smokers have a higher death rate with respect to coronavirus infection compared to non-smokers. Especially smokers who already have certain health conditions such as COPD or other heart diseases have a higher risk of succumbing to death if they become ill. ” infected with the virus, “said Dr. Vikas Maurya, Director and Head of the Department of Pulmonology at Fortis Shalimar Bagh Hospital.
In keeping with the theme, WHO has launched a national media campaign to encourage tobacco users to quit smoking, together with the global health organization Vital Strategies.
The “When You Quit” campaign explains how smoking cigarettes or bidi can cause a heart attack and can also increase the risk of severe Covid-19.
WHO is supporting the “When You Quit” campaign developed in several Indian languages ​​and which will be broadcast in 15 states covering 169 districts with a high burden of tobacco use through All India Radio, MY FM and Radio City.
In addition, Vital Strategies will increase the amplification of the message through the main online streaming platforms: Facebook, Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, SonyLiv and MX Player.
According to health experts, the Covid-19 pandemic has also led to a strengthening of determination among tobacco users in their commitment to quit smoking (tobacco).
This could also be because most people were more at home due to Covid-induced lockdowns and were concerned about exposing their children to smoking, said Dr. Pratima Murthy, professor of psychiatry and head of the department at the National Institute. of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) Bengaluru.
“Up to three-quarters of all those who called to quit said they had given up and nearly 40 percent had quit within a month. This is double what we would see in the pre-Covid era,” Murthy said .

Times of India