This World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, health organisations forming part of the Protect our Next movement in South Africa are calling for the urgent implementation of a stronger tobacco control policy to create an enabling environment for those who want to quit smoking, a major risk factor for tuberculosis (TB). Smoking increases the risk of contracting TB, increases the risk of recurrent TB and impairs the response to treatment of the disease, says Dr Sharon Nyatsanza, Deputy Director of the National Council Against Smoking.
World TB Day is observed annually on 24 March to raise awareness about TB and efforts to end the global epidemic, marking the day in 1882 when the bacterium causing TB was discovered. The theme of World TB Day 2023 – Yes! We can end TB! – aims to inspire hope and encourage high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new WHO recommendations, adoption of innovations, accelerated action and multisectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic.
The WHO has called for the integration of tobacco control in country responses to the HIV and TB twin epidemics. Implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), as the Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill seeks to do; will help fight the TB epidemic that South Africa faces. Partner organisations in the Protect our Next initiative, including the National Council of Smoking (NCAS), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and the South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF) are hopeful that the Bill, now in parliament, will be passed in 2023.
In South Africa, 29.4% of people use tobacco, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-SA) results released last year. “A comprehensive response to the TB epidemic must include a strategy to reduce tobacco use,” says Nyatsanza. “Stronger tobacco control policy will create a more quit-friendly environment, helping more people to stop smoking.”
Dr Nyatsanza provides the following insights on smoking and tuberculosis in South Africa:
“For South Africa, a country that is disproportionately affected by TB, the passing of the Tobacco Control Bill is urgent. A decrease in tobacco use would improve TB health outcomes and this will also free much-needed funds for TB and other public health priorities,” Nyatsanza concludes.
For help to stop smoking, call the National Council Against Smoking Quitline at 011 720 3145 or send an SMS/WhatsApp message to 072 7664812. www.againstsmoking.co.za
Call the National Council Against Smoking – Quitline at 011 720 3145 for tips to help you stop smoking.
CANSA runs an online programme which also provides support and information for smokers who would like to stop smoking on http://www.ekickbutt.org.za/.
Available for interview:
Sharon Nyatsanza (Phd), Deputy Director, NCAS
Prof. Lekan Ayo-Yusuf, Director of the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) and the Head of the School of Health Systems and Public Health at the University of Pretoria
Dr Catherine Egbe, Specialist Scientist: Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council
Sanele Zulu, Convenor: South African Tobacco Free Youth Forum
Zanele Mthembu, Public Health Policy and Development Consultant
Lorraine Govender, National Manager, Health Promotion, CANSA
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