PRESS RELEASE TO MARK 2020 WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set aside 31st of May as te World No Tobacco Day.  This year’s theme: “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and Nicotine Use “ serves as a global counter-marketing campaign with goals to unmask myths and expose manipulation tactics of the tobacco and nicotine industries, especially those that deceive the youth.

It also serves

  •  Equip the youth with the knowledge of the tobacco and nicotine industries’ intention and tactics
  • Empower the influencers to protect and defend youth and catalyze change by engaging them in the fight.
  • World No Tobacco Day 2020 will demonstrate how young people can be empowered to take control of their health and reject tobacco addiction.
  •  It also calls on the tobacco control community to protect these groups via campaigns and interventions across the society to build resilience among the next generation of young people against tobacco and move steadily towards a tobacco free future.
  •  The global campaign designs to debunk all myths and expose industry marketing tactics and equip them with tools to rebuff such tactics.

Tobacco is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases.  Cigarette smoking is the primary known cause of preventable death. In Nigeria, tobacco use accounts for an estimated 16,100 deaths every year with more than 3.5 million Nigerians (15 years and older) and more than 25,000 children  (10-14 years) using tobacco daily.

Half of all long-term smokers die prematurely; for every one person who dies because of tobacco use, another 20 suffer from at least one tobacco- attributable disease. There are around 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and about 80% of these live in low and middle-income countries, where more than two-thirds of smoking-related deaths occur. (WHO, 2019)

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases

Smoking any kind of tobacco reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of many respiratory infections and can increase the severity of respiratory diseases.  Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 outcomes and death.

Tobacco smokers (cigarettes, water pipes, cigars, heated tobacco products) may be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as the act of smoking involves contact of fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) with the lips which increase the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth. Smoking water pipes, also known as shisha or hookah often involves the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in communal and social settings.

Existing evidence indicates that electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and electronic non nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS), more commonly referred to as e-cigarettes, are harmful and increase the risk of heart disease and lung disorders. Given that the COVID-19 virus affects the respiratory tract, the hand to mouth action of e-cigarette use may increase the risk of infection.

Using smokeless tobacco like chewing tobacco may cause the virus to be spread when the user spits out the excess saliva produced during the chewing process.

AHAPN and WHO advise that if you smoke, use e-cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco, now is a good time to quit completely. Do not share devices like water pipes and e-cigarettes. Spread the word about the risks of smoking, using e-cigarettes and using smokeless tobacco.

It is important to protect others from the harms of second-hand smoke. It is very important that you wash your hands, observe physical distancing and not share any smoking or e-cigarette products.

 As a cigarette smoker, it is important that you do not spit in public spaces so that you do not endanger the lives of others in the event of you turning out to be positive for the COVID-19 virus.

 AHAPN encourages smokers to apply and adhere to World Health Organization proven methods of counseling, toll-free quitlines, mobile text-messaging programmes and Nicotine replacement therapies, such as gum and patches designed to help smokers quit tobacco.

AHAPN wishes everyone happy No Tobacco Day celebration.

For AHAPN,

Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Amibor PharmD, MPH, FPCPharm

National Chairman AHAPN

THIS MESSAGE IS A PUBLIC INFORMATION SERVICE OF THE DRUG USE ENLIGHTENEMENT COMMITTEE OF THE ASSOCIATION OF HOSPITAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PHARMACISTS OF NIGERIA (AHAPN)

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