The Full Story
Seventy-one per cent of the deaths of Jamaicans from cancer of the trachea, bronchus or lungs are attributable to smoking. This was disclosed by Executive Director of the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), Michael
Tucker, as he addressed a recent World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Youth Forum on the dangers of tobacco use.
WNTD was observed on Wednesday, May 31, under the theme ‘Fuel Your Health, Not Tobacco Use’.
The Executive Director also highlighted that 11 per cent of all non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica are linked to tobacco use and that smoking can cause problems during pregnancy, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.
Mr. Tucker added that six per cent of all cardiovascular diseases are attributable to tobacco use and lamented that the statistics were a stark reminder of the devastating impact of tobacco on individuals, families and communities.
He issued a warning to young people about the worrying emerging trend of vaping among adolescents in Jamaica. This, he said, has been marketed as being a better alternative to smoking and less dangerous.
Mr. Tucker dispelled the myth by explaining that the active ingredient used in vaping is the same active ingredient in cigarettes and that this creates the same inherent dangers.
“Most vape devices contain very addictive nicotine, which is the substance that makes cigarettes as potent as they are,” the Executive Director warned.
He advised the gathering of young people, who were drawn from a cross section of schools across the country, that tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the world.
“Tobacco use causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” Mr. Tucker said, while pointing out that tobacco use is addictive and can be very difficult to quit.
He pointed out that Jamaica’s campaign against tobacco use began 35 years ago in 1988 with the observation of the first WNTD, which is a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative.
“Year after year, we have observed WNTD under a variety of themes, focusing on tobacco’s impact on the environment and the economy, but tobacco has had the greatest impact on health,” the Executive Director said.
Mr. Tucker noted that tobacco use now kills eight million people a year around the world.