By Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that about 400, 000 new cases of lung cancer were recorded in Africa in 2018 resulting in 37, 748 deaths.
The WHO officer in charge in Nigeria, Clement Peters, who read the message of the Regional Director, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti of the global health body to mark the “World no tobacco day’’ disclosed that about 165, 000 children worldwide die before the age of five years as a result of lower respiratory infection caused by second-hand tobacco smoke.
He said that research carried out has revealed that tobacco smoking has been identified as the main cause of lung cancer, which he said, contains more than 7, 000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
The WHO boss further disclosed that the “No tobacco day” has been set aside every year to raise awareness about the dangers associated with tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke as well as advocate for stronger policies on tobacco control.
He said that this year’s theme: “Tobacco and lung health,” focuses on the negative impacts that tobacco has on the 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, 39, 353 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 per cent after only 10 years. 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.
“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.