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Take A Deep Breath, for Health’s Sake!

Afrikaanse Media Vrystelling

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26 April 2019 – Tobacco smoking is the main cause for unhealthy lungs, lung cancer, and over 20 other types of cancer. CANSA urges everyone to consider quitting the use of tobacco in any form, to help lower cancer risk, as part of its 365 Day Health Challenge, and leading up to #WorldNoTobaccoDay (31 May).

“Smoking is also a concern amongst the youth in South Africa. Nearly 28% of learners Gr. 8-11 and mostly (over 80%) aged between 14-18 years reported to having smoked in the 2011 South African Youth Risk Behaviour Survey. Youth are led to believe that hookah smoking or using hubbly bubbly is not harmful and that e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking, but hookah use has many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking and the safety of e-cigarettes has not yet been scientifically shown. Testing has highlighted that e-cigarettes vary widely in the amount of nicotine and other chemicals they deliver, and this is not communicated to buyers. Nicotine exposure also negatively affects brain development in teens and young adults,” states a concerned Elize Joubert, CANSA CEO.

CANSA is currently funding a Masters student’s research project with young adults at the University of Cape Town, to explore knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and behaviour regarding e-cigarettes. Results support the need for raising greater awareness around e-cigarettes, as well as the need for adequate regulation of these products. #CANSAResearch

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The global health burden caused by tobacco smoking is responsible for over two thirds of lung cancer deaths and accounts for one in five cases of Tuberculosis (TB). Even if someone isn’t a smoker, second-hand smoke from people smoking around them can increase their risk for lung cancer. Tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke can also trigger inactive TB infections. Those with active TB may risk disability or even death by smoking. Smokers with HIV have three times the chance of getting TB compared to non-smokers with HIV. e-Cigarettes must be included when considering health risk, because the use of these products leads to the emission of fine / ultrafine inhalable liquid particles, nicotine and cancer-causing substances into the air.

Joubert adds, “Ten years after quitting smoking, personal cancer risk is half that of a smoker, and immediate health benefits may be experienced. Although e-cigarettes have been marketed as aids to help quit smoking, the evidence that they help is unsupported. In fact they may encourage more regular use of nicotine. They’re also more expensive than cigarettes, and smokers may return to cigarettes to save money.”

CANSA encourages smokers to #StartWhereYouAre and acknowledge that smoking is harmful to you and decide to quit and find support. View helpful tips from Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Programme – a CANSA Smart Choice. Those wanting to quit can subscribe to CANSA’s eKick Butt programme that provides a series of handy tools to help you quit through a series of emails. Or call the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) QUIT Line: 011 720 3145 or email: quit@iafrica.com

Non-smokers can scream at the top of their lungs for their right to a smoke free environment and good health encouraging smokers to quit. They can also support the new draft Bill on Tobacco Control published for comment in May 2018 by the Minister of Health (Control of Tobacco Products & Electronic Delivery Systems, 2018). The amendments include: 100% smoke free public places; standardised plain cigarette packaging with graphic health warnings; regulating electronic cigarettes as tobacco products; removal of cigarettes from view and from vending machines. #CANSAadvocacy

“Report smoking in non-smoking areas by lodging a complaint to the owner of the premises or reporting to the Environmental Health Office in your municipal area. If you reach a bottle-neck, report this to CANSA Information Service on advocacy@cansa.org.za or call toll free on 0800 226622,” concludes Joubert.

Employers should also know and abide by the law and protect employees’ health by ensuring clean air and a smoke-free work environment. Efforts should also be made to educate employees about the health risks.

#IAmAndIWill #LowerCancerRisk #NoTobacco

For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email lbalona@cansa.org.za. Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.

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