Downtown Yangon launches smoke-free awareness campaign

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People gather at the smoke-free awareness campaing at Maha Bandoola Park in Yangon yesterday. Photo: Zaw Min

Kyauktada, a township located in the heart of Yangon Region, launched a smoke-free awareness campaign at the Maha Bandoola Park in the commercial city yesterday afternoon.
The Chairman of the Yangon City Development Committee, Major U Maung Maung Soe, Township administrator U Htoo Kyaw, and the Chair of the Public Health Foundation, Dr. Than Sein, formally opened the campaign.
After the Mayor delivered his address, songs and dances were performed as part of the awareness campaign. The Mayor and officials of the Regional Public Health Department and the foundation attended the performances.
The Mayor and his team also attended the knowledge-sharing programme against tobacco smoking and consumption and visited booths on adults and children living with disabilities. They also stopped by the educative booth put up by the Information and Public Relations Department.
The campaign is not meant for infringing on the rights of smokers, but for creating a smoke-free environment which protects the general public from health hazards of tobacco smoke.
Second-hand smoke (SHS) causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Second-hand smoke has more than 7,000 chemicals, of which at least 70 can cause cancer. SHS causes lung cancer, even in people who have never smoked. There’s also evidence to suggest it may lead to cancers of the larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), nasal sinuses, brain, bladder, rectum, stomach, and breast in adults.
Second-hand smoke can be harmful in many other ways. For instance, it affects the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke in non-smokers. Some studies have linked SHS with mental and emotional changes, too. For instance, some studies have shown that exposure to SHS is linked to symptoms of depression.
In Myanmar, 33 percent of women and 20 percent of men are victims of SHS. Smoking and tobacco consumption is killing more than 65,000 persons every year, which is 17.6 per cent of the mortality rate of the country.
The current campaign is designed for realizing the provisions of the control on smoking and consumption of tobacco product law.

— Ko Ko Zaw

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