May Is Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month

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May is Anti-Tobacco Campaign month and the perfect time to nip smoking in the butt!

Smoking is known as a “dirty habit”, and there are many reasons why. Affinity Health aims to light up awareness about the impact of smoking on all aspects of society and life and the many dangers associated with cigarettes.

The dangers of smoking

Did you know that about 44,000 South Africans die from tobacco-related diseases annually?

It’s no secret: We are all aware of the damaging impact smoking has on our health, with research showing that cigarettes will kill half of those who smoke. 

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Smoking impacts negatively on other areas, too:
  • It costs the South African economy enormously due to increased healthcare costs and decreased productivity.
  • It impacts family budgets – taking money away from essential items.
  • Worldwide, tobacco farming results in global deforestation of two to four percent each year.
  • Cigarette manufacturing produces over 2 million tonnes of solid waste each year.
  • Smoking causes premature aging, stained teeth, and makes you smell like a used ashtray.
  • Smoking dulls your sense of smell and taste.
  • Smoking affects your life insurance and medical aid premiums. If you’re a smoker, you’re deemed a “high-risk client”, and are therefore charged more.
  • Smoking can affect your fertility.

If you think having just one cigarette a day won’t do any harm, you’re wrong. Researchers say lighting up just once a day is linked to a much higher risk of heart disease and stroke than might be expected.

What’s in a cigarette?

Cigarettes contain almost 600 ingredients and additives that generate more than 7 000 chemicals when they burn. Many of those chemicals are poisonous, and at least 69 of them are linked to cancer.3

Some of these ingredients include acetone (found in nail polish remover), acetic acid (an ingredient in hair dye), ammonia (a common household cleaner), arsenic (used in rat poison), nicotine (used as an insecticide), tar (material for paving roads), toluene (used to manufacture paint), benzene (found in rubber cement), butane (used in lighter fluid), cadmium(the active component in battery acid), carbon monoxide (released in car exhaust fumes), formaldehyde (embalming fluid), hexamine (found in lighter fluid), lead (used in batteries), naphthalene (an ingredient in mothballs), and even methanol (the main component in rocket fuel).

Why quitters are winners

Ask anyone who has successfully stopped smoking, and they’ll tell you that although quitting smoking is difficult, it is so worth it.

“Quitting smoking means breaking the cycle of addiction and essentially rewiring the brain to stop craving nicotine. To be successful, smokers who want to quit need to have a plan to beat cravings and triggers,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“With so many options available to help you on your journey to good health from non-prescription and prescription medications, you can successfully stop cigarettes and go on to live a longer and happier life. The sooner a smoker quits, the faster they will reduce their risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, and other conditions related to smoking.”

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