Youth cautioned about the dangers of puffing

The Department of Health has cautioned youth about the dangers of smoking. | Archives

The Department of Health has cautioned youth about the dangers of smoking. | Archives

Published Jun 18, 2024


Durban — The Department of Health has cautioned the youth about the dangers of smoking.

As part of an awareness drive, they visited the Natalia Buildings in Pietermaritzburg to discuss the dangers of smoking following the 2021 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (Gats) South Africa report, released by the Department of Health recently.

The department said that based on the most recent data from the survey, sampled from 7 245 households, it was found that the prevalence of tobacco use in South Africa was 29.4%.

The data also revealed that a higher percentage of men (41.7%) are currently using tobacco compared with women (17.9%).

Lead investigator, Dr Catherine Egbe from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), said that 21.2% of adults in South Africa smoke daily, while 4.6% smoke occasionally.

Dr Egbe said that most people interviewed during the study, who were between the ages of 20 and 34, revealed that they had started smoking at the average age of 17.6 years old.

A total of 20.9% of urban residents and 13.5% of rural residents initiated smoking before the age of 15.

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health posted a video on its Facebook page under its KZN Health Chat segment.

The guests included the head of KZN Health, Dr Sandile Tshabalala, environmental health and communicable diseases control director Babongile Mhlongo, and Dr Thuthukile Goba who is a medical officer at Grey’s Hospital.

Dr Sandile Tshabalala said that statistics showed that the number of smokers had grown, particularly among the youth.

“These numbers show that the youth in particular is smoking a lot. In the past, it used to be mostly men who smoked a lot but now stats show that even women are smokers,” said Dr Tshabalala.

The effects of smoking lead to coughing, especially after one kicks the habit, Tshabalala added.

“The chemicals such as nicotine and tar found in cigarettes affect the bronchi in the lungs. When one smokes, they do not cough that often but after quitting those fur-like bronchi in the lungs are affected and that leads to frequent coughing and other conditions.

“That also leads to complications in breathing. The effects of hubbly bubbly also have the same effects over time because they also contain chemicals,” she said.

Goba said that smoking, consuming too much caffeine and other bad habits may lead to heart failure.

“In some cases, we find young people from the age of 25 and up experiencing heart failure. These habits of smoking, and consuming too much caffeine from coffee and energy drinks overwork the heart. We urge the youth who may feel that they function better after drinking caffeine products to reduce their normal intake,” she said.

She warned these products can also be addictive and one may need to consult a medical practitioner.

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