Every year, May 31 is World No Tobacco Day. It highlights the health and additional risks associated with using tobacco. The World No Tobacco Day 2021 campaign aims to empower and support tobacco users on their journey to quit.
The harms of tobacco use are well-established. Tobacco causes 8 million deaths every year and when the news came out that smokers were more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers, it triggered millions of smokers to want to quit tobacco. Quitting can be challenging, especially with the added social and economic stress that have come as a result of the pandemic.
Of the 1.3 billion tobacco users globally, 60% have expressed the desire to quit – but only 30% have access to the tools to help them to do so successfully.
The benefits of quitting tobacco are almost immediate. After just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate drops. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Within 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves and lung function increases. Within 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Within 5-15 years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. Within 10 years, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is that of a non-smoker. If that’s not enough here are a few more reasons!
Quitting smoking is vital though may not be very easy. Nicotine, one of the chemicals in tobacco, is very addictive and makes you want to smoke. This makes quitting very difficult, but not impossible. It may take a few attempts at quitting smoking before you are successful.
Want to know more about quitting smoking and staying a non-smoker? Talk with your local pharmacist. They are medicine and health information experts. They can assist you with quitting smoking, nicotine replacement therapy, and providing current information on how to quit and stay quit.