We all know the dangers of smoking, and that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland with 5,500 smokers dying each year from tobacco related diseases. Smoking related deaths are mainly due to cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and heart disease.
But tobacco causes harm to more than health. The World Health Organistation’s World No Tobacco Day aims to go even further and raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco to no only health, but also human rights and the environment.
Tobacco scars the environment
The WHO report, Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview, shows the impact of this product on nature, including:
- Tobacco waste contains over 7000 toxic chemicals that poison the environment, including human carcinogens.
- Tobacco smoke emissions contribute thousands of tons of human carcinogens, toxicants, and greenhouse gases to the environment. And tobacco waste is the largest type of litter by count globally.
- Up to 10 billion of the 15 billion cigarettes sold daily are disposed in the environment.
- Cigarette butts account for 30–40% of all items collected in coastal and urban clean-ups.
Tobacco threatens women, children, and livelihoods
Tobacco threatens all people, and national and regional development, in many ways, including:
- Poverty: Around 860 million adult smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Many studies have shown that in the poorest households, spending on tobacco products often represents more than 10% of total household expenditure – meaning less money for food, education and healthcare.
- Children and education: Tobacco farming stops children attending school. 10%–14% of children from tobacco-growing families miss class because of working in tobacco fields.
- Women: 60%–70% of tobacco farm workers are women, putting them in close contact with often hazardous chemicals.
- Health: Tobacco contributes to 16% of all noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) deaths.
The great news is that there are now more quitters than smokers in Ireland. If you have never tried to stop smoking before, or if you have tried and failed, then don’t wait to make a New Year Resolution and quit today.
You don’t have to do it alone. You can freephone QUIT on 1800 201 203, or you can consult with our trained staff who can help advise to the best strategies to help you to succeed. You can even get our Stop Smoking Loyalty Card and earn yourself a €50 Sam McCauley Gift Card!
Giving up will be good for your health, your pocket and the environment, and the following health benefits will be noticed almost immediately after you give up smoking. So why not do the world a favour and give up today:
After 20 minutes: your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. Circulation improves in hands and feet.
After 8 hours: oxygen levels in the blood return to normal and your chance of heart attack starts to fall.
After 24 hours: poisonous carbon monoxide gas is eliminated from the body. The lungs start to clear out mucous and other debris.
After 48 hours: nicotine is no longer detectable in the body. Taste and smell improve.
After 72 hours: breathing becomes easier as the bronchial tubes relax and energy levels increase.
After 2 weeks: circulation improves, making walking and exercise easier.
After 3 to 9 months: coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing are reduced dramatically.
After 5 years: risk of heart attack falls to that of a non-smoker.
After 10 years: risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.