Tobacco exposure a threat to everyone, not just smokers – Mfula

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BREATHE-LIFE Zambia says tobacco exposure is a threat to lung health for everyone, not just smokers.

The organisation’s director Chisanga Mfula

warns that tobacco is deadly in any form and that it threatens the lung health of everyone exposed to it.

“Tobacco kills one person every four seconds,” Mfula says, stressing that tobacco smoke is the single biggest public health threat the world is currently facing.

“It is estimated that there are 1.1 billion smokers worldwide, and around eight million people are killed by tobacco smoke each year globally.”

Mfula adds that among such deaths, more than seven million are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

He explains that the millions of deaths caused by tobacco-related respiratory diseases are distressing.

“But even more distressing is the tremendous suffering caused by these illnesses, the debilitating effects of which affect the quality of life of people of all ages, in all regions of the globe,” he says.

He highlights that with just a single breath, the hundreds of toxins in tobacco smoke begin damaging one’s lungs.

He says when tobacco smoke is inhaled, the structures that sweep mucus and dirt out of the airways are paralysed, allowing the poisonous substances in tobacco smoke to make their way into the lungs more easily.

“The air pollution emitted by cigarettes is 10 times greater than diesel car exhaust reported in Tobacco Control. Environmental tobacco smoke produces fine particulate matter, which is the most dangerous element of air pollution for health.”

Mfula further notes that smokers’ children suffer reduced lung function, which continues to affect them in the form of chronic respiratory disorders in adulthood.

He says adolescents who smoke are more likely to suffer chronic respiratory disorders and risk permanently damaging their lungs.

He emphasises that it is for that reason that tobacco control must be the government’s priority.

“In view of the above, Breathe-Life Zambia joins the rest of the Civil Society Consortium on Tobacco Control in Zambia to urge the government to pass the tobacco control bill because once the bill is passed, the harmful impact of tobacco and cigarette smoke on public health will be reduced,” Mfula says.

“Clean air is a basic requirement of life. Pass the tobacco control bill and Save Live.”

©Kalemba March 23, 2021

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