Welcome to the #ProtectourNext Press Office.

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South Africa’s health organisations partnering in #protectournext, an initiative to drive awareness of tobacco harm and support the implementation of better tobacco control, are calling on smokers to quit for love this February.  Smokers who participate in #quitforlove will receive a sequence of motivational tips, guidance, access to whatsapp support groups and the SA Quitline as they go through a 21-day process. There are also weekly rewards and a smoke-free dinner date experience up for grabs. 

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4 February is World Cancer Day. CANSA and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) encourage people worldwide to set and achieve personal goals, including improving their health through avoiding tobacco. These health goals enable people to lower their cancer risk and for cancer patients to optimise health, especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Health organisations partnering in the #protectournext initiative, a campaign focused on reducing tobacco harm in South Africa,  have welcomed the launch of the WHO year-long global Commit to Quit campaign leading up to World No Tobacco Day in May 2021.  Organisations including the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), CANSA, the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) have stressed the importance of quitting and permanent cessation, especially as South Africa is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases in wave two of the pandemic. 

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Tobacco affects our human rights to life, health and a healthy environment, and must be better regulated, say South Africa’s prominent health organisations forming part of the #protectournext movement. With International Human Rights Day falling on December 10th, these organisations including the National Council Against Smoking, CANSA, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) are joining others around the world in calling for bold action in tobacco control to protect our right to health.  The 2020 theme, ‘Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights’ relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts.

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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

Tamaryn Brown
Connect Media for Cart Agency
+27 (0) 84 3510560

Nirvana Kishoon 
Cart Agency
+27 (0) 82 823 3167


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Tips to Quit

Focus on Tobacco Control Legislation

Smoking in the spotlight

Stop smoking in the time of Coronavirus.

Smoking and lung disease

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