Saying ‘NO’ to smoking on World No Tobacco Day, May 31

Saying ‘NO’ to smoking on World No Tobacco Day, May 31, is a ‘YES’ to physical health, mental wellbeing and the environment

You may have taken up smoking as a social habit or way of relaxing but beware, it can make mental health issues even more complicated. World No Tobacco Day on May 31 highlights the dangers of using tobacco, and what we can do to re-claim our right to healthy living for the future wellbeing of all generations.

Tobacco kills more than 8 million people around the world. Smoking is the leading, preventable cause of death and disease in Australia, claiming 24,000 lives every year. It causes diseases including many types of cancer, heart disease and stroke, chest and lung illnesses, and stomach ulcers, and its impact on mental health can be just as devastating.

World No Tobacco Day aims to raise awareness of the devastating toll of tobacco on physical health, mental wellbeing and the environment

Tobacco contains nicotine, a stimulant that speeds up your central nervous system to make you feel like you have more energy. The effects may seem helpful in managing symptoms such as anxiety and stress, however the sensation gives way to withdrawal and can actually make mental health issues worse. Research has shown daily smokers to be more than twice as likely to experience high levels of psychological distress than people who have never smoked.

Flourish Australia knows that physical and mental health go hand in hand, so it’s concerning that while smoking is on the decline in the general community, it remains high among people experiencing mental health issues. A high proportion of the higher mortality rates for people with complex mental health issues can be attributed to smoking-related illness.

Quitting smoking for at least six weeks improves mental health, mood and quality of life, not to mention the benefits for the health of our environment. The tobacco industry cuts down some 600 million trees to make cigarettes, uses 22 billion tonnes of water, and releases 84 million tonnes of CO2 Emissions into the air, placing unnecessary pressure on our planet’s precious resources and fragile ecosystems.

The bottom line is, every cigarette smoked is damaging your physical and mental health and the wellbeing of our planet. We can all make a difference by getting involved in World No Tobacco Day this May. Visit https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-no-tobacco-day/2022  to find local and online events, and add your voice to social media using #TobaccoExposed.

It’s a step toward a world where we can all breathe easy.

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