Publication:

Te Awamutu Courier - 2021-06-10

Data:

Tobacco is the killer

News

As of this writing, more than 3.7 million Covid-19-related deaths have been officially reported worldwide since the pandemic began. This virus has held the world hostage for over a year. But, do you know (or care) which legal, deadly, disease-causing agent killed nearly 8 million people in 2019 and could kill just as many this year? If you guessed cigarettes, you are right. In 2019 over 1.1 billion people were smokers, and that number increased by 150 million in just nine years. Cigarette smoking plagues people across the age spectrum and among all races and nationalities. The majority of smokers (89 percent) start smoking by age 25. Last month, UK's The Guardian reported that two-thirds of global smokers live in just ten nations: China, India, Indonesia, the US, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and the Philippines. In fact, one in three tobacco smokers — more than 340 million people — live in China! Smoking is a killer: 80 to 90 per cent of lung cancer deaths in the US are linked to smoking. Cigarettes are a unique product that, even when used as directed, will likely kill two-thirds of their users. They are scientifically designed to addict smokers, turning them into clients for life. Cigarettes make the vast majority of smokers sick and increase the risk of death from other diseases as well. Not only are cigarettes deadly, they are also a substance that many turn to for an artificial sense of peace, stress relief, and security. Unwittingly, many make cigarettes their 'saviour'. But sadly, in our societies today, this deadly habit destroys the body, and is even accepted as normal and an individual right! Besides this, smokers can't keep their habit to themselves. Their smoke permeates their surroundings which are unavoidable by others. Surely, New Zealand...a place of "healthy outdoor living", a place that gives young people a good start in life... should do more to discourage becoming addicted and immediately to protect nonsmokers? Why can't we have no smoking in public places? And a High Street that doesn't come with a whiff of tobacco smoke. How can we enjoy the simple pleasure of an outdoor cafe break, without the smoke of someone nearby? Margaret Lovell

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