• Incidence of impotence is approximately 85 percent higher in male smokers compared to non-smokers. Smoking causes impotence because it promotes arterial narrowing
  • Quitting significantly reduces your risk of developing coronary heart disease, lung cancer and other cancers
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by smoking, is a permanent, incurable reduction of lung capacity characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing and persistent cough with sputum
  • Tobacco kills 50 per cent of lifetime smokers and half of these deaths occur among people in their middle age (35-69years)
  • Several ingredients of tobacco lead to the narrowing of blood vessels, increasing the likelihood of a blockage, and thus a heart attack or stroke
  • Creating 100% smoke-free environments is the only way to protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.

By A Web Design

New report details Tobacco deaths in Kenya

At least three per cent of all deaths of men in Kenya every year is triggered by tobacco use, a new global report shows. The 2012 Tobacco Atlas says this is the most preventable cause of death in the country, and anywhere else in the world. It shows that Kenyans smoke about 15 billion sticks of cigarette every year, which exposes them to heart diseases and certain forms of cancer.


The annual Atlas is the world’s most comprehensive analysis of tobacco related activities and is produced by the American Cancer Society and the World Lung Foundation. “Worldwide, smoking causes almost 80 per cent of male and nearly 50 per cent of female lung cancer deaths,” says the report endorsed by the World Health Organisation.

The statistics on Kenya are compiled from the Demographic and Health Surveys among other indicators. The Ministry of Public Health is now calling for increased controls on consumption of cigarettes to stop these deaths. “Tobacco tax should be increased to reach the recommended WHO level of 70 per cent of retail price,” said head of the non-communicable diseases department Dr William Maina

WHO recommends higher cigarette prices to make them unaffordable to children and make the habit expensive for regular smokers. According to the Atlas, 22.5 per cent of Kenyan men currently use cigarettes while only one per cent of women are smokers. The report also shows 11.2 per cent of boys aged between 13 to 15 years and 5.2 per cent of girls of the same age also puff.

Health experts say if this trend continues the country will soon be dealing with a tobacco epidemic. “If this is something that can be prevented, this is the time to do that,” said Dr Newton Mugendi, a physician based in Nairobi. The Atlas graphically details the scale of tobacco use, progress that has been made in tobacco control, and the latest products and tactics being deployed by the highly profitable cigarette manufacturing industry.

Kenya, like most African countries, however compares favourably with developed countries in Europe and America where at least 20 per cent of all male deaths have been blamed on cigarette smoking. In China, tobacco use is the number one killer, causing 1.2 million deaths annually and this is expected to rise to 3.5 million deaths annually by the year 2030.

Experts however warned of any celebrations saying tobacco industry was already growing in developing countries, who have little capacity to treat conditions like cancer and heart diseases. “We can no longer deny or accept the massive human and economic harm costs by tobacco,” said John R. Seffrin, head of the American Cancer Society

According to the Atlas, in 2011, tobacco use killed almost six million people globally, with nearly 80 per cent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. It says that the industry realises almost $6,000 (Sh498,000) in profit for each death caused by tobacco. “The tobacco industry thrives on ignorance of the true harms of tobacco and using misinformation to subvert health policies that could save millions,” said Peter Baldini, chief executive officer, World Lung Foundation. In Kenya, cancer is a growing menace killing about 22,000 people annually, according to the Kenya Cancer Association.

However, data on the exact deaths directly related to tobacco use use is hard to come by as there is currently no National Cancer Registry, according to the International Institute for Legislative Affairs, who have conducted research on tobacco use in Kenya. “Therefore we have always said that tobacco consumption causes up to 5 million deaths yearly globally with 7-10 per cent of these deaths occurring in developing countries,” says Emma Wanyonyi, who heads the public education and capacity building programme at ILA.



Information from the ministry of health however indicate that 50- 70 per cent of all hospital admissions and over 50 per cent of total mortality in the country are caused by non-communicable diseases, such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. “Majority of these cases are related/ linked to tobacco use," says Emma.

The Atlas warns if the current rate of smoking in the world continues, one billion people will die from tobacco use and exposure during the 21st century – one person every six seconds. Globally, tobacco-related deaths have nearly tripled in the past decade, and tobacco is responsible for more than 15 per cent of all male deaths and seven per cent of female deaths, according to Atlas and the WHO.

Tobacco is also a risk factor for the four leading noncommunicable diseases - cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases – which account for more than 63 per cent of global deaths according to the WHO. “Uniquely among cancer-causing agents, however, tobacco is a man-made problem that is completely preventable through proven public policies,” says the report.

It says effective measures include tobacco taxes, advertising bans, smoke-free public places, mass media campaigns and effective health warnings. Kenya instituted some of these measures in 2007 after the Tobacco Control Act was ratified. “These cost-effective policies are among those included in the WHOs Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a global treaty endorsed by more than 174 countries,” the report says.


Source : The Star by JOHN MUCHANGI


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Smoking is even more dangerous when combined with excessive alcohol use.

Heavy drinkers who smoke are much more likely to develop oral cancers, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and other serious medical conditions.


Smoking and Alcohol Use