Smokers are being challenged to quit smoking for 24 hours in celebration of World No Tobacco Day on Wednesday (May 31) and to break the habit.
Independent Community Pharmacy Association acting chief executive Jackie Maimin, in issuing the challenge along with the World Health Organisation, said it was a way for smokers to take the first step in quitting.
“Going smoke-free for 24 hours is an achievement, and often gives the smoker the confidence to continue for another 24 hours,” she said.
The Western Cape No-Tobacco Task Team (comprising the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Cancer Association of South Africa, the City of Cape Town, UCT Lung Institute and Western Cape Department of Health) and the World Health Organisation have conducted research highlighting the effects of smoking.
It revealed that the country’s smoking rates had decreased from 33% to 21%, mainly because of legislation and taxation, but that South Africans smoked too much, with nearly 8 million South African adults lighting up 27 billion cigarettes annually.
Research by the Human Sciences Research Council, Statistics South Africa, the Medical Research Council and Department of Health also indicated that tobacco consumption was decreasing.
Parents are urged to smoke away from their children, and mothers and mothers to-be should seek help in quitting.