Ending the Tobacco Epidemic for World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day

05.30.13 | By Christian Clymer

As more U.S. cities become smoke free, we’re seeing first hand what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is saying – U.S. tobacco use has declined significantly. As a result, I was surprised to learn that worldwide tobacco consumption is actually growing. In response to this trend, the World Health Organization has declared today World No Tobacco Day to educate people on the health hazards associated with tobacco use and advancing the tobacco free initiative.

This issue is particularly personal for me because I used to be a smoker. I know first-hand how it affects an individual’s quality of life. Simple activities I now take for granted like walking up stairs or carrying a load of groceries any distance became increasingly challenging, and I’m thankful I was able to kick the habit, although it wasn’t easy.

Ultimately, it was the prospect of becoming a father that made me realize I needed to make a change. It is estimated that tobacco kills up to half its users, and long-term damage is not often noticeable for several years or even decades. As a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death in the world including cancer, heart disease, and asthma, I didn’t want to be a statistic. I want to be there for my daughter’s first day of middle school, prom and to see her off to college.

Although we at PhRMA are working hard to develop treatments for diseases that result from smoking, the best thing to do is to quit. More than 121 medicines for lung cancer are currently in clinical testing or under FDA approval, an there are almost 300 medicines being develop for heart disease and stroke. But to avoid the disease altogether is ideal. 

As I reflect on the drastic change in my energy level and overall fitness since quitting smoking, I encourage all smokers to use World No Tobacco Day as the perfect reason to stop now. Join the discussion on Twitter using #NoTobacco, and encourage the people in your life to stop smoking.


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