Smoking kills 3 times more than COVID-19



National No Tobacco Day in Turkey was recognized on February 9 to draw attention to the dangers of tobacco.

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for developing cancer, which kills eight million people worldwide each year.

To mark the occasion, the Anadolu Agency spoke with doctors about the dangers of smoking to people’s immune systems, the comparison between COVID-19 and tobacco use in terms of what they do in the world. human body and how they affect each other’s progress, what can people do to overcome its possible dangers or to quit smoking.

Dr Volkan Kara, member of the Turkish Green Crescent Scientific Council, told Anadolu agency that in Turkey at least 26,000 people have died from smoking so far, while the annual death toll s ‘rises to 80,000.

Noting that 1.8 billion people are active smokers worldwide, Kara added that one in two people get seriously ill or die.

“The most crucial component released after tobacco is burned is tar, in which there are almost 7,000 harmful substances. Two hundred and fifty of them are toxic, so they poison the body. Fifty of them have carcinogenic properties.

The dysfunctions that occur in our bodily systems, especially our immune system, make us sick, ”said Dr Kara.

He stressed the importance of the immune system in protecting against COVID-19 and added that “You are more likely to be infected from the coronavirus. If you are infected if you take the germ you have a more serious or fatal risk of contracting the disease.

Recalling that over 2.5 million people have died from COVID-19 with a workload of over 100 million, Dr Kara said at least 8 million people lose their lives due to related illnesses at the cigarette shop.

Children as passive smokers

He said the number of people who died from illnesses caused by tobacco was up to three times the number of people who died from the coronavirus.

However, smoking does not only kill smokers, but also children who are passive smokers, said Dr Guzin Zeren Ozturk, consultant of the Scientific Commission of Istanbul Family Medicine Association (ISTAHED).

Globally, the smoking rate among people over 15 years old is 21.9, Ozturk said, adding that this rate in Turkey is 31.4 according to 2019 data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK ).

Noting that Turkey is ranked 24th in the world in terms of smoking intensity, she mentioned an increase in the number of smokers over the age of 15 between 2010 and 2019.

She said there are three health effects of smoking: “The main result is caused by a person who smokes. The side effect is caused by inhaling smoke from someone else’s smoking or from a burning tobacco product.

Exposure to side effects is described as “passive smoking”.

“The tertiary effect, on the other hand, is that cigarette smoke is absorbed by surfaces when smoked in a closed environment, it re-enters the air and affects individuals through exposure to certain chemical changes.”

A total of 1.2 million people die from second-hand smoke, while at least 40% of children worldwide are exposed to it. It is also the cause of 28% of child deaths, she said.

She also added that “smoking is responsible for about a third of all cancers”.

Recalling that there are over 20 different types of cancer, all of which can result from smoking: “While 90% of lung cancers are due to smoking, it is also known to play an active role in the formation of laryngeal cancer, oral cavity, esophagus, stomach. cancers of the colon, pancreas, kidney, bladder, breast and uterine mouth. ”

80% of smokers live in low- and middle-income countries

According to WHO data, 80% of all smokers in the world live in underdeveloped or developing countries.

Most tobacco-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, which are often the target of intensive tobacco industry interventions and marketing.

Some studies indicate that smokers need help quitting. The results show that very few cigarette consumers understand the health risks posed by tobacco use.

However, most smokers want to quit when they realize the dangers of tobacco, but only 4% of those who want to quit succeed when the necessary support is not obtained.

At the top of the list of countries that consume the most cigarettes, Kiribati attracts 47.4%.

It is followed by Montenegro (46%), Greece (43.7%), East Timor (42.2%), Russia (40.9%) and Nauru (40%).

25% success

However, despite all this, continued support is provided to smokers in Turkey during the fight against COVID-19 through the “Alo 171 Smoking Cessation Advisory” line and outpatient smoking cessation clinics to get rid of addiction.

The “Alo 171 Smoking Cessation Advisory” line encourages people who do not want to smoke with motivational talks.

The advice line provides permanent and ongoing assistance 24/7, responding to an average of 3,000 calls per day.

Counseling line staff provide advice to people who have made the decision to quit smoking in this process and advice on behavioral changes to cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms that may arise.

The information is also transmitted to health professionals and units offering smoking cessation services.

People who call the counseling line are tested to determine the level of nicotine addiction. Depending on the level of addiction defined, a personalized smoking cessation plan is drawn up, or health facilities offering smoking cessation services are informed and referred to outpatient smoking cessation clinics.

If the person requests it, an appointment is also made at the nearest outpatient smoking cessation clinic through the operators.

People with a smoking cessation plan are followed for one year by return calls from the advice line if they give their consent and are supported to continue the smoking cessation process.

Once included in the system, those who are considering quitting smoking are interviewed by returning a call at least seven times for a year after the established period.

In research, the smoking cessation status of people is monitored. Their motivation is increased by encouraging them to cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms or physiological difficulties encountered in the process of smoking cessation.

In this context, it was found that 25% of people followed last year had quit smoking.

* Written by Merve Berker

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