Every year on May 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) observes World No Tobacco Day to spread awareness about the dangers of using tobacco. The day takes more importance this year as countries across the world are battling coronavirus (Covid-19), a respiratory disease.
For this year, the world health body has launched a campaign, ‘Commit to Quit,’ to observe the day. While launching the campaign, it urged all countries to play their part by joining and creating tobacco-free environments by giving people the information, support, and tools they need to quit and quit for good.
It also said that the raging Covid-19 pandemic has led to millions of tobacco users wanting to quit. “Nearly 60% of tobacco users around the world want to quit smoking, but only 30% of the global population have access to quality tobacco cessation services,” it said on its website.
Currently, only 23 countries provide comprehensive cessation services to help tobacco users to quit, it also mentioned.
Over the last two years, many studies have indicated that smoking and chewing tobacco can substantially increase the chance of adverse impact on the immune system of Covid-19 patients.
“Tobacco adversely affects the immune system and impairs lung function, making users more vulnerable to developing respiratory infections like colds, influenza, tuberculosis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” news agency ANI quoted Dr Vikas Maurya, director of pulmonology at Fortis Hospital in Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh, as saying.
“Covid-19 is an infectious disease that mainly attacks the lungs and tobacco use continues to be one of the biggest public health threats especially during this time,” he also said.
According to the data published on WHO’s site, tobacco kills more than 8 million people every year around the world. Out of this, more than 7 million deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke, it also informed on its website.
While cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide, other uses products include waterpipe tobacco, various smokeless tobacco products, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, bidis and kreteks.