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Commit to Quit

20 May 2021 – CANSA is in full support of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) year-long global campaign for World No Tobacco Day 2021 – ‘Commit to Quit’. WHO calls on all governments to ensure their citizens have access to advice, toll-free quit lines, mobile and digital quit smoking services, nicotine replacement therapies and other tools that are proven to help people quit smoking.

Lorraine Govender, CANSA National Manager: Health Promotion, says, “As we support the WHO in encouraging the world to #committoquit ahead of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May and beyond, the #ProtectourNext ( partners, Cancer association of South Africa (CANSA), National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA) and South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) are conducting a series of webinars called ‘Tobacco Control Conversations’ that examine other things we need to quit and to better protect our nation’s health.”

The webinar series is targeted at media and the public to drive awareness, dispel myths, highlight emerging research and once again clarify the key aspects of the Tobacco Bill, including where it is in the process, and why. CANSA is participating in the webinar hosted by the National Department of Health, WHO, civil society organisations, medical and nursing associations on what is being done to turn the tide on tobacco harm in South Africa on 31 May at 10:00. The programme includes the launch of a new Tobacco Control dashboard, the first of its kind for Africa, that will have access to vital research and information.

CANSA in KwaZulu-Natal together with the Department of Environmental Health and other stakeholders is also hosting an awareness event at Bayview Clinic in Chatsworth on 31 May to support WHO’s theme for 2021 #committoquit.

Online support with eKick Butt

Quit Smoking

CANSA’s eKick Butt programme is an email series to help support people wanting to quit smoking with information. Through a series of emails, surveys and downloads, subscribers are provided information and tools as they make efforts to quit smoking.

Govender states, “The internet, with its richness of options and opportunities for communication and sharing information, has now become a regular part of daily life for most people in many countries. Especially now with COVID-19 and physical distancing, internet platforms offer access to smoking cessation support. Online support may be convenient, in that it can be accessed anywhere at any time and offers the option of being anonymous. The journey to new health and unbelievable freedom from addiction can be lot easier with the help of a few online friends.”

CANSA recently asked subscribers to the eKick Butt programme to provide feedback through an online survey and 38 responded. Some things that stood out is that (some) people said that they wanted to quit due to health concerns, some were concerned about the impact that their second-hand smoke would have on their children, families and other non-smokers and quite a few people said the price of cigarettes was their reason for wanting to quit.

Reasons to Quit:

There are immediate and long-term health benefits to quitting tobacco. After just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, the heart rate drops. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal. Within 2–12 weeks, the circulation improves and lung function increases. Within 1–9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Within 5–15 years, the stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. Within 10 years, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, the risk of heart disease is that of a non-smoker.

Tobacco causes 8 million deaths every year and is also a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. Moreover, people living with these conditions are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19.


Helpful Resources:

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

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