Fight against electronic cigarettes and hookah

By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….

With growing awareness of the dangerous effects of cigarettes, and the laws framed and implemented to curtail their use, new forms of addictions have started surfacing . Hookah and electronic cigarettes are the ones which are becoming popular with a growing speed.

In a statement recently issued by Asst. Prof. Dr. Nurcan Bilgiç, of Girne American University (GAU) regarding the ever-increasing threat of electronic cigarette and hookah usage that has become widespread in recent times, emphasised the need to educate people about the ill effects of these new forms of tobacco products.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Bilgiç in her statement  said that despite increasing effectiveness in fighting with tobacco products in recent years, 31% of men in Turkey have lost their lives because of tobacco related illnesses according to `The Tobacco Atlas` prepared with the contributions of World Health Organization, American Cancer Association and World Lung Foundation. Bilgiç who stated ratio was 12% of women, has said that an increase was expected.

The Assistant Professor further stated that in recent years tobacco control period has been started with the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO). As of September of 2010, 160 countries have implemented new applications with Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Tobacco Control practices are being carried out in the entire world with MPOWER package which contains basic tobacco control strategies. Cigarette producers have increased works towards boosting hookah and e-cigarette usage after positive effects of strategies have been observed in multiple countries following application of strategies.

A person or people who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their lives, and are still smoking, is still a person who smokes. According to some research the reason why people have started to use tobacco products is, 36.2% have started out of curiosity, 16.8%  started because they want to be like others and 29.4% are influenced by their friends.

Back in the days, hookah was used for its smell, artificial free flavouring, strong, with only a dry tobacco leaf leaning towards a classic hookah product (Persian Tobacco). However, to encourage people to use more hookah, for the last 10 years it has been conferred that ingredients such as sugar molasses, fruit nectar and glycerin that provide a type of artificial flavour, smell, softness and the environment that it’s found in create the materials with fermentation and are included in it. This has caused an epidemic increase for hookah among youngsters and teens. The number of people in Turkey that smoke hookah are between 2% to 10% of the population, and every inhale taken from a hookah, is about 500ml amount of smoke taken from a cigarette.

In conclusion, the usage of hookah and e-cigarettes are the increasing problems of the the public’s health in the world, in Turkey and in the TRNC. The first way to prevent this is to prevent children and teens from starting on any tobacco product. Besides this, with public health education; when you stop smoking it can reduce the risk of many cancers, especially lung cancer, heart/vein illnesses and reduces the risks of a stroke, coughs, phlegm, snuffling, struggling to breathe, kinds of breathing system illnesses can be reduced and can also reduce the development of Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease (CORD). Also, amongst women who stop smoking it reduces the infertility risks, to quit smoking before pregnancy reduces the risks of miscarriages.

The struggle against tobacco products is a job for all associations, institutions, universities, Civil Society Institutions, teachers, society leaders and families.  In the Framework Convention On Tobacco Control, the study has to be planned and the usage of cigarettes have to be under control, especially to protect the youth a National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) must be formed.  Places that are open to the public, workplaces, indoor areas and indoor places that are open for the public should be described as Tobacco-smoke-free places. The Tobacco-Free Campus practice that has started at the Universities in Turkey should start here too. Also, they should start the practice to reduce the usage of hookah and prevent any more e-cigarettes to be sold.

Let’s fight against our common tobacco problems and let’s take the first step in the new year of our tobacco-free lives. Let’s warn those who do not smoke not to smoke and let’s support those who do smoke to stop smoking.