The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest threats to public health that the world has ever faced, while smoking is the number one that can prevent the cause of death worldwide. Currently, there are about 1.1 billion smokers around the world – the seventh of the world's population.
Every year about 7 million people die from tobacco-related diseases around the globe. Tobacco kills up to half its beneficiaries, while nearly 900,000 of these non-smokers die from smoke inhalation per second. Tobacco use costs more than $ 1 trillion in health care and productivity loss every year.
Almost 80% of the world's 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. In these countries, says the World Health Organization (WHO), the burden of disease and death is often the heaviest. Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, increase health care costs and hinder economic development.
Use of tobacco in South Africa
Global tobacco use estimates show that South Africa has a relatively low prevalence of smoking compared to the US, Europe and Asia, but that we have a higher smoking prevalence than neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe and Malawi.
It is estimated that more than 44,000 South Africans die as a result of tobacco-related illnesses each year. Damage from tobacco products is devastating and currently costs South African taxpayers R59bn.
Since the introduction of tobacco control measures, the national smoking prevalence has declined in South Africa. But, despite the nationally declining trend of smoking, the use of tobacco remains high in certain vulnerable communities.
How to count against secondary smoke
The use of tobacco by one or more adults negatively affects the health of children and other people living in the same household.
In 2004, global estimates showed that 40% of children, 35% of women who did not smoke and 33% of men who did not smoke were exposed to smoke from use. It was estimated that the number of deaths resulting from this exposure was 603,000. A total of 28% (166,000) of these deaths were children under the age of five.
In children, secondary smoke is associated with respiratory tract disorders, middle ear infection, chronic respiratory symptoms, asthma, and decreased lung function. There is also a link between smoke and childhood cancer.
Quit smoking today
Most of the worlds are over 1.1. billions of smokers – about a quarter of all adults – are addicts. Are you one of them? If you are ready to stop smoking and seek help, contact the National Council
Against Smoking KuitLine at 011 720 3145 or send VhatsApp at 063 828 2909.
Reviewed by general practitioner in Cape Tovn, Dr. Dalia Hack. October 2018