About 400, 000 new cases of lung cancer were recorded in Africa in 2018, the World Health Organization has said.
Clement Peters, the officer in charge, WHO Nigeria, read WHO Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti message on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day.
Peters revealed that 165,000 children worldwide die before the age of five years as a result of lower respiratory infection caused by second-hand tobacco smoke.
Peters also revealed that tobacco smoking had been identified as the main cause of lung cancer, as it contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
Though he said there is hope for those who quit smoking as they reduce their risk of lung cancer
Moeti said: “We commemorate World No Tobacco Day to broadcast greater awareness of the dangers associated with tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. We also use this moment to advocate for stronger policies on tobacco control. This year’s theme, Tobacco and Lung Health”, focuses on the negative impacts that tobacco has on our lungs and what can be done to reduce the tobacco-related risks to lung health.
“Smoke is dangerous – it contains more than 7 000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Tobacco affects the lungs in multiple ways. Smoking is the primary cause for lung cancer, responsible for more than two thirds of lung cancer deaths. In 2018, a total of 39353 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in Africa and 37 748 deaths occurred.
“There is good news, though. People who quit smoking reduce their risk of lung cancer by 50% after only 10 years.”
READ ALSO: Chemical, artificial ripening agents linked to cancer
“Tobacco smoking is also the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which results in a painful cough and agonizing breathing difficulties. The risk of developing the disease is high among individuals who start smoking at a young age because tobacco smoke significantly slows lung development. Tobacco also exacerbates asthma, which restricts activity and contributes to disability.
“Children are at great risk: Exposure to tobacco smoke toxins in-utero reduces lung growth and function. Young children exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke can develop pneumonia, bronchitis and lower respiratory infections. Around 165 000 children worldwide die before the age of 5 years because of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand tobacco smoke.
“Our lungs are fundamental to our health and well-being. We shouldn’t let tobacco take our breath away. Let us choose good health, not tobacco.
“The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. Tobacco kills up to half of its users. The most effective way to improve lung health is to reduce tobacco use and second-hand tobacco smoke exposure. We need to embrace the proven health benefits of stopping tobacco use as well as the feasible actions that the public and governments can take to reduce the risks to lung health posed by tobacco.”
by Vincent Ikuomola,