In honor of World No Tobacco day, we wanted to share a little more information on the day and why it matters.
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners recognize World Tobacco day on May 31. This national day of awareness, organized by the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, seeks to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco usage and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. The goal of this post is to talk about the purpose of this awareness day and why it matters to us.
World No Tobacco Day is organized by the Tobacco Free Initiative. This Initiative operates within the WHO, a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. The WHO established the Tobacco Free Initiative in 1998 in response to the global tobacco epidemic’s massive toll of death, sickness, and misery. Consequently, the Initiative’s mission is to reduce the global burden of disease and death caused by tobacco in order to protect present and future generations from its effects.
Each year, the Tobacco Free Initiative uses World No Tobacco Day to highlight an effective policy regarding tobacco consumption reduction through an annual theme. Last year, the theme was to stop the illicit trade of tobacco products. Prior to that, the theme was raising tobacco taxes.
This year, the Tobacco Free Initiative calls on the WHO’s Member States to get ready for plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products. Plain packaging is a method of reducing demand for tobacco products by limiting their attractiveness.
Plain packaging restricts the use of logos, colors, brand images, and promotional information. What’s left on tobacco packaging is health warnings, brand names, and product names displayed in a standard color and font style. You can see an example here from this year’s World No Tobacco Day brochure:
Yes! After Australia implemented it in 2012, concrete evidence of plain packaging’s effectiveness was demonstrated. For example, a study of young adults instructed to use plain cigarette packs found that plain packaging increased their negative perceptions about the pack and smoking. Plain packs also increased behaviors such as hiding packs, smoking less around others, going without cigarettes, and increased thinking about quitting. As a result of this success, countries such as the United Kingdom and France are in the process of implementing plain packaging laws.
The goal this year is to encourage policy makers, civil society, and the public to take action and ensure that their governments consider adopting plain packaging in four ways:
Today, smoking kills half of its users. It kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined. In fact, smoking reduces life expectancy by an average of 14.5 years for women and 13.2 years for men. Despite these drawbacks, nearly one in six American adults currently smoke cigarettes. As a result, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US.
Smoking damages the cells that line your lungs. Besides for hurting lung tissues almost immediately, smoking exposes your lungs to carcinogens. Cigarette smoke contains 7,000 chemicals, at least 70 of which are known to cause cancer. With repeated exposure, the normal, healthy cells that line your lungs become increasingly damaged. This causes them to begin acting abnormally and eventually develop cancer. Consequently, smoking is directly responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.
Smoking causes the majority of lung cancers, both in smokers and people who have been exposed to secondhand smoke. However, lung cancer also occurs in people who have never smoked or been affected by secondhand smoke in a significant way. In these cases, there is no clear cause for the lung cancer.
Besides for smoking, other risk factors for lung cancer include exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to radon gas, exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens, and a family history of lung cancer.
Typically, lung cancer doesn’t exhibit any signs or symptoms of its existence in its early stages. Rather, these symptoms appear when the disease is in its advanced stages. Signs of lung cancer include:
If you see any signs or symptoms that are common for people with lung cancer, visit your family doctor first. If your doctor suspects that you may have lung cancer, they will refer you to a specialist, such as an oncologist, who can give you a more specific diagnosis.
The most common tests that doctors run to diagnose lung cancer are the following:
Before determining any course of treatment, the doctor will have to first determine the extent, or stage, of your cancer. There are four stages of lung cancer:
When determining a cancer treatment plan, you and your doctor will make decisions based on a number factors, including:
Typically, cancer treatment plans involve one of more of the following treatments:
A diagnosis with cancer, especially lung cancer, can be overwhelming. With time, you’ll find ways to cope with the distress and uncertainty of living with this disease. For now, you may find it helpful to do any of the following:
World No Tobacco Day is an awareness day that demonstrates the health risks associated with tobacco usage and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. This day is significant because of the countless harmful effects of tobacco use on people, economies, and countries.
At Care+Wear, this day is especially important to us because of the connection between tobacco use and lung cancer. Many members of our community have been or know someone who has been affected by cancer. If you know any patients with lung cancer who are receiving treatment through a PICC line or chest port, please check out our products and help your loved ones get back to living their lives.
We hope this blog post about World No Tobacco Day and lung cancer was helpful, and we’d love to hear from you about more blog post topics!
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