Some smokers are spending up to a quarter of a million dollars per year on cigarettes, without realising just how much of their income goes toward supporting their addiction.
This alarming statistic was disclosed by Executive Director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Deborah Chen, who was addressing a JIS Think Tank held on Tuesday, May 28, at the agency’s head office in Kingston.
Mrs. Chen noted that individuals, who smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, spend on average of $250,000 a year to support the habit.
She said smoking negatively affects human development as the financial resources that could be used to fund a person’s growth and development are often channelled towards the habit.
[RELATED: World No Tobacco Day to Focus on Banning Tobacco Advertising]
“If someone spends their entire salary on smoking cigarettes, the children are not getting the school books, the school shoes. He or she also gets sick, has to go to the hospital and you know there are costs attendant to that because of the lung problems,” the Executive Director said.
“I don’t think if I gave anyone a bag with $250,000 they would go outside and burn it but that is exactly what is happening with cigarette addiction and in addition, it is causing harm,” Mrs. Chen continued.
Chairman of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control and the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Dr. Knox Hagley, also weighed in on the matter and highlighted that smoking tobacco is not only costly to maintain, but also has detrimental effects on the health and wellness of the human body and the environment.
“Smoking is the second leading cause of death worldwide. One out of every two chronic smokers will eventually breathe their last breath as a result of a smoking-related disease, and quite often, this happens several years before the life expectancy rate,” he emphasised.
Dr. Hagley said that smoking also causes cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, poor blood circulation to the kidney and legs, which results in chronic kidney disease and gangrene. “It also causes poor circulation in males and might also result in erectile dysfunction,” he informed.
Friday, May 31, is being observed as World No Tobacco Day under the theme: “Ban Tobacco Promotion, Advertising and Sponsorship: Save our Youth.” The annual observance is an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO).
No smoking advocates and health authorities across the world will be focussing on public education strategies aimed at banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship as well as messages aimed at discouraging smoking, particularly among the youth.
Contact: Sanasha Pearson/Toni-Ann Rankine