With the Covid-19 pandemic further highlighting the critical importance of quitting tobacco, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health organisations continue to encourage countries to assist tobacco users to quit. Following on from 2021 ‘Commit to quit’ campaigns, the WHO has announced the 2022 global campaign for World No Tobacco Day – “Tobacco: Threat to our environment.”  The campaign aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of tobacco – from cultivation, to production, distribution and waste. It gives tobacco users yet another reason to quit.  

In continued support of quit initiatives into 2022, the National Department of Health (DOH) is working closely with the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) and leading NGOs active in South Africa to communicate the importance of quitting smoking and the resources available to help people quit through a new campaign titled ‘Sibo Manqoba!’.

“South Africans embrace winning and being winners. Sibo Manqoba means ‘we are winners’. Through the new ‘Sibo Manqoba’ campaign, we’re calling on South Africans to conquer tobacco and win the battle against this debilitating addiction by committing to quit now.  Quitters are winners!” says Dr Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director of the National Council Against Smoking,  

The DOH will continue promoting a ‘quit attitude’ through sharing information, quitting resources and support as well as partnering with local NGOs and community organisations to roll out an educational programme in schools. The programme kicks off with a tobacco education mural competition, schools pledge and education days delivered in partnership with the Department of Environmental Health (DoEH) and Protect our Next (@protectournext) organisations– the NCAS, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HFSA) and the South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF).

“Tobacco use is still unacceptably high in South Africa, with 1 in 5 adults smoking. More than 80% of smokers smoked their first cigarette in their teens, and most smokers wish they had never started,” says Nyatsanza. “We believe educated communities are vitally important in the fight against tobacco. The new Tobacco Control Bill will better protect our communities, but we cannot wait for that to be passed before doing all we can to protect ourselves and our environment. Communities should better understand the risks and send a clear message that they will be tobacco-free.” 

Quitting smoking: the tools

For smokers, the message is clear, quit to protect your health, the health of those around you and our environment. “Nicotine is highly addictive, leading those trying to quit smoking down a path of physical and psychological hardship. Tobacco dependency is a chronic medical condition that may need repeated interventions. Kicking the habit, though not easy, is not impossible either. Through determination, willpower and some practical strategies, it can be done.”

The WHO recommends that smokers take immediate steps to quit by using proven methods such as quit lines and nicotine replacement therapies such as gum and patches, which are designed to help smokers quit tobacco.

Within 20 minutes of quitting, elevated heart rate and blood pressure drop. After 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in the bloodstream drops to normal. Within 2-12 weeks, circulation improves and lung function increases. After 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

Giving up smoking is beneficial for smokers across all age groups, even those suffering from smoking-related health problems. You can gain up to ten years of life expectancy by quitting. 

Quitting after the onset of a life-threatening disease, versus continuing smoking, also has rapid benefits. People who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of having another heart attack by 50%.

Giving up smoking decreases the high risk of many diseases related to second-hand smoke in children, such as respiratory diseases and ear infections. Giving up smoking also reduces the risk of impotence, experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, premature births, low birth weight babies and miscarriage.

Top ten quit tips:

1.     Set a quit date, within 2 weeks, to give up smoking completely. Tell family, friends and co-workers about this quit date and seek their understanding and support.

2.     Have a plan! Anticipate challenges to the upcoming quit attempt and be prepared to address them.

3.     Remove all tobacco products and smoking paraphernalia from your environment. Make your home smoke free.

4.     Drink a lot of liquids, especially water. Try herbal teas or fruit juices. Limit coffee, soft drinks and alcohol as they can increase your urge to smoke.

5.     Avoid sweet and fatty foods. Try low calorie foods for snacking, such as carrots and other vegetables, sugarless gum, air popped popcorn or low-fat cottage cheese. Do not skip meals.

6.     Exercise regularly and moderately. Regular exercise helps. Joining an exercise group provides a healthy activity and a new routine.

7.     Get more sleep. Try to go to sleep early and get more rest.

8.     Take deep breaths. Distract yourself. When cravings hit, do something else immediately, such as talking to someone, getting busy with a task, or taking deep breaths. Watching a movie or listening to relaxing music can help. 

9.     Know your smoking triggers and change your habits. Take a different route to work, eat breakfast in a different place, or get up from the table immediately after eating.

10.   Use nicotine replacement therapy and other effective pharmacological products in consultation with a doctor.

Resources:

·For help to stop smoking, smokers can reach out to the National Council Against Smoking QUITLINE: 011 720 3145 or WhatsApp 072 766 4812

·The Cancer Association of South Africa runs eKick Butt, a unique online smoking cessation programme https://www.ekickbutt.org.za/


Other centres that may assist include:

·Lifeline provides counselling on a variety of issues and may be contacted @ 0800-12-322, the gender violence line is:  08000-150-150 and the AIDS helpline is: 0800-012-322.

·If you are struggling with breaking the addiction cycle, reach out to the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) via WhatsApp on 076 535 1701 or call them on 011 892 3829.

·For help on how to manage stress and anxiety, call the South African Depression and Anxiety Support Group who can be contacted on 0800 21 22 23 and 0800 70 80 90. 
 

Available for comment:

Lynn Moeng, National Department of Health: Director

Lorato Mahura, National Department of Health: Health Promotion

Sharon Nyatsanza, PhD, Deputy Director, National Council Against Smoking

Tel: 011 725 1514 / 079 666 1356

www.againstsmoking.co.za

Media contact:

Tamaryn Brown

Connect Media for CART Agency

Tamaryn@connectmedia.co.za

Tel: 084 3510560

Comments from Dr Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director, National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) 

The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) welcomes the fourth WHO global tobacco trends report published on Tuesday, which shows that smoking rates are falling globally. In the past 20 years global smoking rates have dropped from 32% to 22%. This is good news for public health, and it is a confirmation that strong tobacco control policies are effective. It also commendable that the African Region has the highest proportion of countries on track for a 30% reduction in smoking rates by 2025 (53% of countries). But, the report also makes it clear that the gains are not equal, but are closely linked to progress and efforts made by individual countries to end the tobacco epidemic. South Africa is not among the 25 Afro region countries on track to meet the reduction target of 30% by 2025.

 If South Africa continues with business as usual, in particular the slow rate of implementation of strong tobacco control policies, the WHO estimates that South Africa will see a small decrease of 6% in smoking rates. This is significantly lower than other African countries like Uganda and Kenya, which will see a 54% and 30% drop in smoking rates respectively. Both of these countries have put in place stronger tobacco control laws. For instance, they have 100% smoke-free public places, which better protects non-smokers from harmful second-hand smoke. Kenya and Uganda also require graphic health warnings on tobacco products, which have been proven to be more effective in preventing children from starting to smoke and in encouraging smokers to quit.

South Africa, as one of the 182 members of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), acknowledges that the solution to the tobacco problem lies in implementing strong tobacco control policies as recommended under the FCTC. So we know the solutions, the challenge lies in implementing these solutions with speed. Over three years have passed since the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill (Tobacco Control Bill) was published, and it still has not been passed as law. Every day of delay results in more premature deaths and disability from tobacco. 

Reducing tobacco use is not only a health priority, but also an economic, sustainable development, and human rights issue. High smoking rates threaten sustainable development, exacerbate poverty and burden the health system. To see a significant fall in smoking rates and to truly end the damage caused by tobacco use, South Africa needs to accelerate its tobacco control efforts, the first being to pass the Tobacco Control Bill into law.

[ENDS]

Health organisations forming part of the #protectournext partnership include the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) and the South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF). Together, these organisations are steadfast in driving awareness of the dangers of tobacco and e-cigarettes, while campaigning for the Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill to be passed. 
www.protectournext.co.za
@protectournext

Media Contact:
Tamaryn Brown
Tamaryn@connectmedia.co.za / Tamaryn@cart.agency
084 3510560

For further information, contact

Dr Sharon Nyatsanza (Ph.D.)

Deputy Director – National Council Against Smoking

Contact: 079 666 1356 / 011 725 1514

sharon@againstsmoking.org.za  

The National Council Against Smoking is a leading not-for-profit organisation working to promote public health by encouraging a tobacco-free society.
 

Press kit with photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1gm16476cjq31ts/AAArW8vViqkhTtXbLxe_1pqqa?dl=0

It’s World Stroke Week from 28 October to 2 November, with World Stroke Day falling on 29 October. Every day in South Africa nearly 240 people will suffer a stroke. Of these, 70 may die. Some people who survive a stroke will recover fully but many people will be left with lasting disabilities. Strokes not only affect the survivor’s ability to live a normal life but can also have devastating consequences for their loved ones. 

#Protectournext partners, including the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), CANSA, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa are highlighting that smoking is a major risk factor for stroke. The sooner South Africa passes the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill into law, the sooner all South Africans will be better protected from the multiple health risks posed by smoking, including cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Key points on stroke and smoking:

Smoking is the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease, after high blood pressure. #protectournext encourages all South Africans to avoid smoking or the use of other tobacco products and to protect themselves and their families from exposure to second-hand smoke, or passive smoking.

Smoking makes you twice as likely to die if you have a stroke, and the more you smoke, the greater your risk of stroke. If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you are six times more likely to have a stroke compared to a non-smoker.

Your risk of stroke decreases after you stop smoking. In some studies, the risk of stroke in ex-smokers becomes similar to people who have never smoked after five to ten years. Importantly, stopping smoking reduces the risk of stroke in people with high blood pressure.

Chemicals from smoke affect your blood, making it thicker, stickier and more likely to form clots. They cause fatty material (plaque) to build up on your blood vessel walls faster. This process starts early and can be seen in smokers in their teens and early twenties. 

Smoking reduces the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (also called HDL) in your blood stream and increases levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (also called LDL). Having low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol in your body increases your risk of stroke. 

When you inhale cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide and nicotine enter your blood – reducing the amount of oxygen, making your heartbeat faster, and raising blood pressure. This increases your stroke risk. 

The chemicals in smoke make your platelets, a type of blood cell, more likely to stick together. This increases the chance of a clot forming – causing stroke. 

Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 toxic chemicals which change and damage cells all around your body. The changes that these chemicals cause can increase your risk of stroke. 

Women who smoke and use oral contraception are almost four times more likely to have a stroke than women who use neither. This risk increases with age. 

Breathing in someone else’s smoke is hazardous. Children are particularly vulnerable to passive smoking as they have less well-developed airways, lungs and immune systems. 

Smoking is a controllable risk factor for stroke – a factor that people have the power to change! By stopping, you are greatly reducing the risks you are posing to your family, friends and people around you.

When you quit…

Facebook: @protectournext

Website: www.protectournext.co.za

Available for interview:

Dr Catherine Egbe, Specialist Scientist: Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council

Dr Sharon Nyatsanza, Project and Communications Manager, NCAS

Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO, The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa
Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co-Ordinator, CANSA

Media contact:

Tamaryn Brown

Connect Media for CART agency

tamaryn@connectmedia.co.za

+ 27 (0) 84 3510560

A new initiative to #SwitchoffTobacco in Mamelodi launches this week. A dynamic team of Protect our Next ambassadors will be educating the Mamelodi community about the dangers of tobacco and e-cigarettes and explaining how the new Tobacco Control Bill will better protect communities. Community media and social channels will carry #SwitchoffTobacco discussions, while the ambassadors visit local schools, churches, taxi ranks, malls, traders and community hotspots over the next month with an engaging edutainment programme that encourages the whole community to pledge to be tobacco free.

Protect our Next is a partnership between South Africa’s leading health organisations, including the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HFSA) and the South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF). Together, the organisations are united in educating communities about tobacco and campaigning for the new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Services Bill to be passed to better protect the health of the nation.

“Tobacco use is still too high in South Africa. About 1 in 5 adults smoke, and this has a major impact on the health of communities and strains our health system,” says NCAS Deputy Director Sharon Nyatsanza. “More than 80% of smokers smoked their first cigarette in their teens, and most smokers wish they had never started. It’s clear that tobacco companies are active in the townships, targeting these markets. Communities like Mamelodi, a buzzing hotspot with an influx of people, need to protect themselves from tobacco industry manipulation and send a clear message that they will be tobacco-free. It’s up to communities to get involved and take action. We’re switching on Mams to switch off tobacco!”

“The earlier one starts to use tobacco and nicotine, the greater your risk for heart disease, strokes, other circulatory disorders and respiratory conditions,” says Dr Catherine Egbe, specialist scientist at SAMRC.“We know that the earlier children initiate tobacco use, the more difficult it will be for them to quit. The nicotine in tobacco and alternative products such as e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug that can impact the development of the brains of young people.”

The Protect our Next team aims to roll out similar education and awareness initiatives in other communities across South Africa. The successful #protectournext schools education programme has also taken place in schools in Alexandra, Midrand and Ivory Park. Educators and community leaders welcomed the initiative, saying that children are both exposed to and experimenting with tobacco at a young age. “Many of our learners have parents and relatives who smoke. These education initiatives really help the children to understand the dangers and to better protect themselves, and we also hope they will take the message home,” says Vice Principal Patrick Ndange of Emfundisweni Primary School.

Nyatsanza says passing the proposed Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Services Bill, which is currently moving through its policy pathway in South Africa, is a vital part of better protecting communities. “The new Bill requires that any indoor public place is 100% smoke-free, and will make certain outdoor public places smoke-free too. It will further ban smoking in private dwellings used for commercial child care and educational activities, and in cars carrying children under 18. Cigarette advertising at tills and the sale of cigarette via vending machines, which is a channel for young people to access cigarettes would also be prohibited if this bill is passed into law.”

Importantly, the new Bill seeks to regulate e-cigarettes or vape products. “Our current legislation predates e-cigarettes and manufacturers have used the legislative vacuum to promote these devices and appeal to youth – including marketing e-liquids which come in a number of flavours to make them more appealing to young people,” says Dr. Egbe. “We must close the legislative gap and prevent a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.”

“Active, educated communities are vitally important in the fight against tobacco. Everyone can help by educating themselves and others about the risks,” says Nyatsanza. “It’s time to take back our health from big tobacco bullies.”

HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR COMMUNITY FROM THE TOBACCO EPIDEMIC:

Follow @protectournext on social media and become a Tobacco Control Champion.
Educate yourself and others on the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use.
Show your support for the implementation of the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill in South Africa.


protectournext

www.protectournext.co.za

Facebook and Twitter:@protectournext

Website: www.protectournext.co.za

Available for interview:

Dr Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director, NCAS

Dr Catherine Egbe, Specialist Scientist: Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council

Lorraine Govender, National Advocacy Co-Ordinator, CANSA

Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO, The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa

Zanele Mthembu, Public Health Policy and Development Consultant

protectournext Activation Schedule:

Thuto Bothlale Secondary School:
Date: 20 October 2021

Time of Activation: 11:00 till 13:00

7945 Lehlwa Street, Nelmapius ,Ext 7

Contact person: Lucky – 0738169443

Nwavangani Primary School

Date: 21 October 2021

Time of Activation: 10:30 am till 13:30

Call Time: 10 am

Call Venue: Motamilenyora Street, Mamelodi East

Contact person: Lucky – 0738169443

Further Activity:

Schools ‘Next’ Programme
Churches
Taxi Drive
Stokvel Groups
Community Roaming Ambassadors
Community Hotspots (Parks and recreation)
Community media
Roaming billboards
Local radio and press
Protect our Next Smoke free paintings and murals
Traders and spaza shops – smoke-free vendors signs

Media contact:

Tamaryn Brown

Connect Media for CART agency

tamaryn@cart.agency

tamaryn@connectmedia.co.za

27 (0) 84 3510560