This World Tuberculosis Day on 24 March, the National Council against Smoking (NCAS) is placing the spotlight on the impact of smoking on tuberculosis (TB). TB is the country’s leading cause of death at 8.8% of all deaths, according to Stats SA. TB is passed on from one person to another through the air, usually through coughing or sneezing. It is fully treatable although the treatment period is long – 6 months. It is important for smokers to understand that they increase their risk of getting TB again, even after having it once, and fully recovering from it. This is called “recurrent" TB and is a risk that arises from tobacco use.
In the grip of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we are seeing governments all over the world, including our own, act to protect public health. We are in full support of this action to protect public health.
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Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that in South Africa (SA) alone, smoking results in more than half of lung cancer deaths, 37% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths, and over 20% of cardiovascular deaths and tuberculosis (TB) deaths. Smoking-related TB deaths are especially prevalent in South Africa, due to a higher vulnerability of HIV-positive individuals to TB. Because it attacks the lungs, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke or vape.
The new Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill will make it easier for South Africans to choose smoke-free lives, regulate the danger of e-cigarettes and decrease the impact of second-hand smoke on the majority of the population, who are non-smokers. Why is taking time to implement? Tobacco industry profits are at the expense of addicted smokers, their families, and public health. Together, the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa are steadfast in campaigning for the new Bill to be passed. It’s time for our people and our government to show leadership in implementing global best practice to curb the onslaught of big tobacco.
Zanele Mthembu, Public Health Development and Policy Consultant
Savera Kalideen, Executive Director of the National Council Against Smoking
Sharon Nyatsanza, Project and Communications Manager, National Council Against Smoking
Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co-Ordinator, Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)
Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa
Dr Catherine Egbe, Specialist Scientist: Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council
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Focus on Tobacco Control Legislation
Smoking in the spotlight
Stop smoking in the time of Coronavirus.
Smoking and lung disease
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