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Government Gazette

Kick smoking habit, reduce heart disease

COLOMBO: Heart disease can be reduced by 35 per cent by not smoking, Dr. Lakshmi Somathunga, Director, Non Communicable Diseases said.

“Sri Lanka has seen a 20 per cent decrease in smokers, which is a good sign,” Somathunga said.

She said about 30 per cent of Lankan males smoke and cigarette sales had gone down by seven per cent. A person dies every eight seconds somewhere in the world due to tobacco use and four million people die annually.

Fifty per cent who smoke die due to a sickness caused by smoking, Somathunga said Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. It is well known that half the people who smoke regularly today (about 650 million people) will eventually be killed by tobacco.

When a person stops smoking, the risk of getting a sickness related to smoking disappears after two years. Tobacco contains about 400 poisonous substances that have an adverse impact on health.

A smokers life expectancy is 22 years shorter than that of a non smoker.

Hundreds of thousands of people who have never smoked die each year from diseases caused by breathing second-hand tobacco smoke.

Passive smoking cause cancer as well as many serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in children and adults, often leading to death. There is no safe level of human exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, she said.

Smokers can be subjected to lung infections and bronchitis, heart attacks, stomach ulcers, impotency, nerve weaknesses in legs and cancers in mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, kidneys and bladder.

The right to clean air, free from tobacco smoke, is a human right.

Most people are non-smokers and have a right not to be exposed to other people’s smoke.

Surveys show that smoking bans are widely supported by both smokers and non-smokers.

Its time to take action, have your say and claim your right to clean air.

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