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Tobacco smoking and the consequences

I am encouraged that the Prime Minister Sogavare has taken a stand on smoking by calling on people in the Solomon Islands to stop smoking and to wait for the DCCG to enforce its tobacco regulations.

The PM was speaking yesterday at the official launch in Honiara of ‘World No Tobacco Day.’

The Prime Minister said during his address, “It is not only Governments who can step up the tobacco control effort, people can contribute on an individual level to making a sustainable tobacco free world.”

He also reminded smokers to think about tobacco related deaths and losses on families, communities and the nation.

Coincidentally, I was present at the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok yesterday morning, Wednesday, when ‘World No Tobacco Day’ was marked with a display in the hospital’s main lobby.

I am a non-smoker, always have been, but if I had been a smoker, I would have been horrified by the display of diseased and blackened body organs displayed in glass containers as evidence of the affect smoking had resulted in such, real, mummified body exhibits.

I came away from that display with clear, undisputed evidence that smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness worldwide.

Every year around 100,000 people in the UK alone die from smoking, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses.

Here are the reported proven facts –

“Smoking increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions. Some may be fatal and others can cause irreversible long-term damage to your health.

You can become ill:

if you smoke yourself

through other people’s smoke (passive smoking)

Smoking health risks

Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancers. It also causes cancer in many other parts of the body, including the:




voice box (larynx)

oesophagus (the tube between your mouth and stomach)






Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation, increasing your risk of developing conditions such as:

coronary heart disease

heart attack


peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels)

cerebrovascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain)

Smoking also damages your lungs, leading to conditions such as:

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which incorporates bronchitis and emphysema


Smoking can also worsen or prolong the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma, or respiratory tract infections such as the common cold.

In men, smoking can cause impotence because it limits the blood supply to the penis. It can also reduce the fertility of both men and women.

Health risks of passive smoking

Secondhand smoke comes from the tip of a lit cigarette and the smoke that the smoker breathes out.

Breathing in secondhand smoke – also known as passive smoking – increases your risk of getting the same health conditions as smokers. For example, breathing in secondhand smoke increases a non-smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer by about a quarter.

Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke. A child who is exposed to passive smoke is at increased risk of developing chest infections, meningitis, a persistent coughand, if they have asthma, their symptoms will get worse. They’re also at increased risk of cot death and an ear infection called glue ear.

Health risks of smoking during pregnancy

If you smoke when you’re pregnant, you put your unborn baby’s health at risk, as well as your own. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of complications such as:


premature (early) birth

a low birth weight baby

stillbirth ”

Smoking is still a choice in the Solomon Islands, as I understand it, but I would urge everyone to be very conscious of the risks and consequences of tobacco smoking and, if wise, to stop smoking today.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short