Today is World No Tobacco Day. It is observed on May 31st of every year after member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) created ‘World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco usage and encourage people to quit tobacco.

World No Tobacco Day has high significance in the current pandemic world as smokers face up to 50% higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19. The same applies to other types of tobacco usage as well. Susceptibility to the infection is very high in these population. When we are at a higher risk of infections, we need to focus on preventive measures and methods to improve immunity to keep ourselves healthy, so that even if we are contracted, our body can fight back.

The different methods of tobacco usage are smoking, chewing and sniffing and it leads to multiple diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, lung diseases like COPD, a risk factor for respiratory tract and other infections, osteoporosis, reproductive disorders, adverse post-operative events, congenital disorders in children, delayed wound healing, duodenal and gastric ulcers, renal failure, intestinal ischemia, and hypertensive heart disease and sudden death.

As a result of this, more than 6 million people die every year around the globe from tobacco usage. Even though the high risk of smoking and tobacco usage is known to most of these population, many are not ready to or not able to quit tobacco. The main problem is addiction related to nicotine which is the key substance in tobacco. Nicotine induces pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety. Once addicted, smokers rely on it to modulate levels of arousal and to control mood.

As the need for quitting tobacco is essential at a personal and social level, acute or occasional smokers will not find it a big issue in doing the same. But it is going to be a very tough job for the chronic group. However, the first step in both cases is making that decision to attempt quitting. It is okay if you are not able to do it by yourself, or if you are taking a long duration. Many organizations can help you in the path. But commitment is the key here. You need to understand that it is going to be a long and difficult journey. Sarvam, NIMHANS – Tobacco Cessation Centre, Tobacco Intervention Initiative, Piramal Swasthya, Art of Living are a few organizations that can help you in the path. Taking support from a psychologist also could help. You need to understand that everyone around you is with you throughout this journey.

Now, if you have taken that first step by deciding to quit tobacco, it is time for you to take the WHO pledge by clicking the link below. Let this be the beginning.

A better life is awaiting you.



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