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Why should you quit smoking?

Despite the obvious consequences of smoking, it is estimated that there are more than 1 billion smokers in the world, most of whom are addicts .

Person breaking a cigar

As part of World No Tobacco Day 2021, the main reasons for quitting tobacco and the health benefits this brings have been highlighted. Photo: Rawpixel

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué debería dejar de fumar?

Since 1987, every May 31 the international No Tobacco Day has been celebrated. This date is promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and seeks to highlight and raise awareness about the health risks posed by tobacco consumption. Likewise, the aim is to promote actions and policies that prevent and reduce consumption.

According to PAHO, tobacco use causes more than 8 million deaths each year . With the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers have stated that they want to give up tobacco, but despite the fact that there are approximately 780 million people around the world who want to quit, only 30% of these have the possibility of have access to tools that can help them fulfill their purpose .

That is why these organizations have sought to bring these tools to people who do not have access to them, starting with the possibility of signing a commitment to quit smoking, offering advice and reasons to quit smoking . They also offer experts, materials and tools to help people dependent on tobacco.

Also read: WHO: All approved vaccines are effective against all variants of Covid-19

As part of World No Tobacco Day 2021, the main reasons for quitting tobacco and the health benefits this brings have been highlighted. Likewise, an important focus is being made on the relationship that consumption has with the dangers that are run by the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments are expected to pay more attention to this problem and take it into account within their health systems .

PAHO's reasons for quitting include the following:

  • Smokers are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and dying from this disease

  • The risk of psoriasis is increased, an inflammatory and non-contagious skin disease that manifests itself as reddish, itchy, and exudative patches that affect the entire body.

  • Smoking or using e-cigarettes around children compromises their health and safety

  • Quitting smoking lowers the risk of many second-hand smoke-related illnesses in children , including respiratory illnesses (including asthma) and ear infections.

  • One study showed that smokers spend an average of $ 1.4 million on personal expenses , including spending on cigarettes, medical expenses, and lower wages due to smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

  • Smokers are more likely to have infertility. Quitting smoking reduces the difficulty of getting pregnant, premature births, low-birth-weight babies, and abortions .

  • Smoking can cause erectile dysfunction . Tobacco reduces blood flow to the penis and can cause impotence. Erectile dysfunction is more common in smokers and is very likely to persist or become permanent unless a man stops smoking at an early age.

  • Half of smokers die as a result of tobacco . Tobacco use in any of its forms robs health and causes debilitating diseases.

  • Using e-cigarettes increases your risk of heart and lung conditions .

  • Smokers have up to twice the risk of stroke and four times the risk of heart disease.

  • Tobacco causes more than 20 types of cancer.

These reasons are just a few of the 100 the organization gives . Likewise, the benefits of quitting tobacco begin to be seen immediately, it is stated that within 20 minutes of no smoking, the heart rate and blood pressure are lowered . With the passing of the months and years of quitting, even bigger results can be seen, such as: at age 10, "the risk of lung cancer decreases to 50% that of a smoker, and it also reduces the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder and pancreas ".

Making the decision can be difficult, especially with the stress that the pandemic has generated, but it is a decision that will not only be beneficial individually, but in the long run it will be for the people around you and for civil society.

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