The District Health Management Team (DHMT) in Francistown hosted a briefing on the upcoming ‘World No Tobacco Day’ to address major concerns due to deaths caused by tobacco consumption.
The world health organization (WHO), has designed the 31st May every year as a ‘World Tobacco Day’ with an objective of drawing attention to the tobacco epidemic and preventable diseases and deaths it causes.
In a brief synopsis from DHMT states that the tobacco epidemic is the biggest public health threat the world has ever faced. It kills nearly seven million people a year of whom more than one billion are smokers worldwide who live in low middle income countries where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest. Further to that, more than 900 000 deaths are non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke.
Dr Solomon outlined the devastating effect tobacco use had on the population and outlined that it was crucial DHMT worked hand in hand with the media and make a concerted effort to high light this problematic issue. The next speaker was Dr. Rapolai, who is the acting National Coordinator for Tobacco Control in the ministry of Health. He focused on government interventions on tobacco control within the country. Dr Rapolai narrated some staggering statistics on the young and old, and how they had been adversely affected by the use of tobacco. Dr Rapolai went into detail about how Botswana had long recognized the detrimental effects of tobacco as shown by governments signing of legislature in 1992.
Dr. Rapolai further said 7 million people worldwide die from tobacco related illnesses, 165 000 children die annually as a result of second hand smoke. He highlighted that developing countries are more affected by tobacco use than western world countries. 71% of all lung cancer cases are attributes to tobacco use, Dr Rapolai said.