Quit smoking for TB this World Tuberculosis Day
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- March 24, 2021 |
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This World Tuberculosis Day, South Africa’s health organisations forming part of the Protect our Next initiative, including the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of SA and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) are calling on more people to reach out for help to stop smoking, and for the implementation of a stronger tobacco control policy to create an enabling environment for those who want to quit. The 21-Day #Quitforlove Quit Smoking challenge starts on World Tuberculosis Day 24 March – sign up at www.protectournext.co.za/quitforlove or via the @protectournext Facebook page. Dr Sharon Nyatsanza of the National Council Against Smoking provides insights on smoking and tuberculosis in South Africa.
Quitting is one of the best decisions for health but this is even more important for tuberculosis (TB) patients. Smoking increases TB risk by more than two-and-a-half times and increases the risk of severe TB. To recover from TB, a good step is to quit smoking and focus on TB treatment. When a person stops smoking, the body’s ability to fight is increased.
Smoking while on TB treatment has a negative impact on treatment, making the medication less effective or taking longer for the medication to improve the health of the person living with TB. Even after completion of TB treatment, continuing to smoke doubles the chances of developing TB again, which is called recurrent TB.
TB is still one of the biggest causes of death in the country and smoking also increases the risks of dying from TB, the risk of dying from TB is up to nine times higher for smokers than for never-smokers. We encourage TB patients to reach out for help to quit, several studies in South Africa show high smoking rates among TB patients and this is an urgent concern considering the negative implications smoking has on TB outcomes.
The clock is ticking and the scaling up of cessation support to help control TB is also needed. The World Health Organisation’s 2021 “commit to quit” campaign brings to the fore the importance of supporting the many people who want to quit smoking. It is clear that we cannot end TB and reduce HIV-related mortality, without reducing tobacco use.
The WHO has called for the integration of tobacco control in country responses to the HIV and TB twin epidemics instead of disease-specific responses. Implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), as the Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill seeks to do; will help fight the TB epidemic that South Africa faces.
A result of a stronger tobacco control policy is also the creation of a quit-friendly environment, it will enable more people to stop smoking. A comprehensive response to the TB epidemic must include a strategy to reduce tobacco use so that people living with TB are not excluded from the many health gains that a smoke-free lifestyle provides.
For South Africa, a country that is disproportionately affected by TB, the passing of the Tobacco Control Bill is urgent, a decrease in tobacco use would improve TB outcomes and this will also raise the much-needed funds for TB and other public health priorities.
For help to stop smoking, the public can call the National Council Against Smoking Quitline at 011 720 3145 or send an SMS/WhatsApp message at 0727664812.
Call the National Council Against Smoking - Quitline at 011 720 3145 for tips to help you stop smoking. www.againstsmoking.co.za
CANSA runs an online programme which also provides support and information for smokers who would like to stop smoking on http://www.ekickbutt.org.za/.
Available for interview:
Sharon Nyatsanza (Phd), Project & Communications Manager, NCAS
Dr Catherine Egbe, Specialist Scientist: Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council
Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa
Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co-Ordinator, CANSA
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