Smoking is responsible for thirty percent of all cancers and is the largest preventable risk factor. During Cancer Prevention Awareness Week, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) has organised a No Tobacco Radiothon to encourage smokers to kick the habit.
The cancers most affected by the smoking habit are lung cancer, and cancer of the throat, pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix, prostate and colon.
But despite all the health warnings, thousands still take up the habit. A South African study estimates the 34% of adult South Africans smoke and the age of onset appears to be dropping.
It is not only the nicotine in cigarettes that increases the risk of getting cancer. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4 500 chemical compounds, 43 of them known carcinogens. (Read our article: What’s in that cigarette?)
Unfortunately, as most smokers know, the knowledge of health hazards is not sufficient to motivate one to stop or to stay tobacco-free. This may be because cigarette addiction is similar to cocaine and heroine addiction, according to a study released by the US surgeon general.
Benefits of quitting
The benefits of quitting are clear. Just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate start to return to normal. After only a day, the risk of a heart attack begins to diminish.
However, those who reap the most benefits are those who stay off cigarettes long-term. Fifteen years after the last puff, an ex-smoker's rate of heart disease and cancer is close to that of someone who never smoked.
No Tobacco Challenge Radiothon
The CANSA No Tobacco Challenge Radiothon takes place today and tomorrow live from Fourways Mall in Johannesburg.
CANSA and Nicorette challenge all South Africans to ‘kick some butt’ by making a pledge towards a healthier South Africa.
CANSA volunteers will be on hand from 08h00 until 20h00 on both days to take telephone pledges on (011) 467-6160, as well as pledges from the public in person, in the Junxion Court on the Lake Level at Fourways Mall.
Ban on smoking saves hearts
What do your cigarettes mean to you