Tobacco also kills non-smokers
This year’s world cancer day theme, ‘I Am and I Will’ is an empowering call to action, it is call to individuals to make a personal commitment to help reduce the impact of cancer. We at the Anti -tobacco Network have heeded the call. We hereby call upon all citizens of this country to stand up against the monstrous impact of tobacco use in our society. We all know that tobacco kills. I want to tell everyone that tobacco kills non-smokers as well. Let us be clear about it. Second-hand smoke also kills. It is well documented through solid science that exposure to second-hand smoke causes cancer and contributes to various lung and heart diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 700 million, or almost half, of the world’s children are exposed to second-hand smoke. In spite of what science tells us, however, in many places it is considered so acceptable to smoke, and so rude and unaccommodating to protest, that we dare not speak out against second-hand smoke. The time has come for us to speak out. We have a right to breathe clean air. We have a right to good health and to protect our friends and family. We need to clear the air of second-hand smoke. Today, on this very important day, we are calling for a ban on smoking in public places. A ban that offers a comprehensive solution to keeping the air clean and safe for all people, both smokers and non-smokers. A ban that puts emphasis on people’s right to health and helps to make smoking the exception rather than the norm. Whoever you are – a cancer survivor, co-worker, carer, friend, business leader, healthcare worker, teacher or student – ‘I A m and I Will’ represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future. The power of lending your voice to this very important call. Your participation in this Call to Action is crucial to the cause. However you choose to take action, know that your efforts will be making a difference in the lives of many. Dr Bontle Mbongwe is the Executive Director of the Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN), as well Head of Environmental Health Programme, University of Botswana.