Protect our Next advocacy organisations have launched a campaign calling for Big Tobacco to clean up its mess this World No Tobacco Day 31 May called ‘Susa Udoti Wakho - #yourbuttsstink’. The 2022 World Health Organisation (WHO) theme - “Tobacco: Threat to our environment” - focuses on the damaging impact tobacco has on the planet throughout its lifecycle, including deforestation, erosion, water pollution and biodiversity damage through to the disposal of manufacturing waste and littering of cigarette butts.
“We support the WHO message and our local campaign aims to raise awareness among the public on the polluting and damaging environmental impact of tobacco in South Africa – including cultivation, production, distribution and waste. It gives tobacco users yet another reason to quit,” says Dr. Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director of the National Council Against Smoking.
Dr Sharon Nyatsanza – Deputy Director, National Council Against Smoking (NCAS)
On Tuesday, 31 May, countries around the world will mark World No Tobacco Day, which this year highlights the devastating effects of tobacco on our environment. The World Health Organisation’s theme for this year is “Tobacco: Threat to our environment.” While tobacco is a leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment, tobacco also endangers the environment. The campaign raises awareness among the public on the environmental impact of tobacco – from cultivation, production, distribution and waste. It gives tobacco users yet another reason to quit!
Senior primary learners have created striking murals and artworks saying NO to tobacco through a Schools Mural Art Competition that forms part of the National Department of Health (DOH) ‘Sibo Manqoba!’ tobacco education initiative. The DOH joined forces with government departments, health and advocacy organisations to roll out the campaign, which aims to raise awareness of tobacco and e-cigarette harms, including harm to the environment, a key theme of World No Tobacco Day this year.
Teams of learners from Grade 5-7 in selected schools were asked to produce artwork in the form of murals or other creative pieces. The theme of each entry needed to focus on tobacco harm; why quitting tobacco makes you a winner; or how tobacco influences your school community and environment. Participating schools have each designated four student ambassadors and a lead educator for the project to represent the school as spokespeople and anti-tobacco youth advocates.
The winning finalists include Sharonlea Primary in Randburg, Park Primary School in Lenasia and Zimbambele Park Primary School in Soweto.
As we mark World No Tobacco Day 2021, observed each year on May 31, the National Department of Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), civil society organisations, medical and nursing associations in South Africa have spoken about what should be done to turn the tide on tobacco harm in South Africa.
Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, recognised that the debate on tobacco use is gaining momentum and said that the Department of Health is moving on with the legislative process. “The country is currently battling to reduce COVID-19 deaths, and working hard to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 epidemic. The relationship between COVID-19 and smoking cannot be ignored as both affect the lungs.”
Protect Our Next
Tweets by National Council Against Smoking
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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