South Africa’s five-month ban on cigarette sales slashed the number of emergency visits from patients with lung disease at a regional hospital by about 70% new research has revealed. This is the first study to examine the health impact of the sales ban.
It found that the government’s attempt at protecting people’s health and reduce the strains on the health system through the sales ban was successful. The research was published on February 15 in the African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine.
Speaking to Kaya Breakfast, Dr Sharon Nyatsanza, Project and Communications Manager at the National Council Against Smoking shared how The George Regional Hospital in the Western Cape recorded the biggest drop in smoking-related illnesses.
Listen to the full conversation here:
“What we see from this research, we see that there was a drop of around 70% in people who were reporting the COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) with the main causes of COPDs being smoking. What they did see was that people had cut down on the number of cigarettes they were smoking and some people had stopped smoking.”
A decrease in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary (COPD) disease cases
COPD is a lung disease causing shortness of breath or a constant cough, and years of sickness and suffering.
The chemicals in tobacco smoke irritates the lungs and destroy lung tissue, making smoking a major cause of COPD.
People with COPD are also at higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. There were also fewer people going to hospitals, a direct relation to the 5-month cigarette ban which was imposed in the country.
While stopping smoking is beneficial to those with COPD, getting treatment for worsening COPD is always important. Help in stopping tobacco use is available from the National Quit Line (011 720 3145).