Grow food, not tobacco

By Faiza M.
Tue, 05, 23

It will also aim to expose the tobacco industry’s efforts to interfere with attempts to substitute tobacco growing with sustainable crops, thereby contributing to the global food crisis....

Grow food, not tobacco

world no tobacco day

All forms of tobacco are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide. Other tobacco products include water pipe tobacco, various smokeless tobacco products, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, beedis and vapes.

Over 80 per cent of the 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide live in low - and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest. Tobacco use contributes to poverty by diverting household spending from basic needs such as food and shelter to tobacco. The economic costs of tobacco use are substantial and include significant health care costs for treating the diseases caused by tobacco use as well as the lost human capital that results from tobacco-attributable morbidity and mortality.

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed around the world every year on 31st May. This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations. This year’s theme is ‘We need food, not tobacco’.

The 2023 global campaign aims to raise awareness about alternative crop production and marketing opportunities for tobacco farmers and encourage them to grow sustainable, nutritious crops. It will also aim to expose the tobacco industry’s efforts to interfere with attempts to substitute tobacco growing with sustainable crops, thereby contributing to the global food crisis.

Grow food, not tobacco

Campaign objectives

* Mobilise governments to end subsidies on tobacco growing and use of savings for crop substitution programmes that support farmers to switch and improve food security and nutrition.

* Raise awareness in tobacco farming communities about the benefits of moving away from tobacco and growing sustainable crops.

* Support efforts to combat desertification and environmental degradation by decreasing tobacco farming.

* Expose industry efforts to obstruct sustainable livelihoods work.

* The key measure of campaign success would be the number of governments that pledge to end subsidies on tobacco growing.

Quitting smoking and tobacco consumption for good and overcoming nicotine dependence requires a multi-faceted approach that may include counselling, support groups, behavioural therapy and medication. Tobacco cravings can wear you down when you’re trying to quit. Use these techniques to reduce and resist cravings.

Counselling - Individual counselling with a health care provider, counselling in a structured stop smoking group, or counselling on a telephone quit line is an important part of quitting smoking. Support from other people who are trying to quit is invaluable. For many of the participants in a stop smoking programme, regular attendance has been critical to ongoing success.

Medications - Using one or a variety of stop smoking medications has also been shown to increase quitting success rates. Medications ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms, providing enough relief to allow the smoker to focus on learning new ways of thinking and behaving without cigarettes. The majority of smokers who are unsuccessful at stopping will relapse within the first two weeks, usually due to intense cravings. However, it’s important to know that there are many medication options that can be tried, so if one doesn’t work, another can be tried. It’s never too late to quit.

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) - A variety of formulations of nicotine NRTs are available over the counter - including the transdermal patch, spray, gum, and lozenges - and are equally effective for cessation. NRTs stimulate the brain receptors targeted by nicotine, helping relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings that lead to relapse. Many people use NRT to help them get through the early stages of cessation, and those with more severe nicotine addiction can benefit from longer-term treatment. Use of NRT improves smoking cessation outcomes, and adding behavioural therapies further increases quit rates.

Mindfulness - This will help you become aware of and learn to detach from feeling, thoughts, and cravings that could cause you to use tobacco again. You’ll also learn ways to manage stress and negative thoughts that don’t involve tobacco.

Avoid triggers - Tobacco urges are likely to be strongest in the places where you smoked or chewed tobacco most often, such as at parties or gatherings, or at times when you were feeling stressed or sipping coffee. Find out your triggers and have a plan in place to avoid them or get through them without using tobacco. Don’t set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you usually smoked while you talked on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to keep busy with doodling rather than smoking.

Remind yourself of the benefits - Write down or say out loud why you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These reasons might include: Feeling better; getting healthier; sparing your loved ones from second-hand smoke; saving money. Keep in mind that trying something to beat the urge to use tobacco is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you’re one step closer to being tobacco-free.