Don’t let tobacco take your breath away—WHO

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2019   •   5216

FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows cigarettes in their pack, October 8, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Illustration

Tobacco kills one person every four seconds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This World No Tobacco Day, the WHO reiterates the deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoking.

According to the WHO’s statement, “the campaign also serves as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.”

Once you decide to quit smoking, here are the benefits of smoking cessation.

1. There are immediate and long-term health benefits of quitting for all smokers.

Beneficial health changes that take place:

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • 1 year, your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s.
  • 5 years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
  • 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
2. People of all ages who have already developed smoking-related health problems can still benefit from quitting.

Benefits in comparison with those who continued:

  • At about 30: gain almost 10 years of life expectancy.
  • At about 40: gain 9 years of life expectancy.
  • At about 50: gain 6 years of life expectancy.
  • At about 60: gain 3 years of life expectancy.
  • After the onset of life-threatening disease: rapid benefit, people who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of having another heart attack by 50%.
3. Quitting smoking decreases the excess risk of many diseases related to second-hand smoke in children.

Quitting smoking decreases the excess risk of many diseases related to second-hand smoke in children, such as respiratory diseases (e.g., asthma) and ear infections.

4. Others benefits.

Quitting smoking reduces the chances of impotence, having difficulty getting pregnant, having premature births, babies with low birth weights and miscarriage.

So choose health, not tobacco.

Senate eyes sin tax higher than House version

Maris Federez   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Monday said that they are targeting to pass a bill that will press for sin taxes which are much higher than that of the House version.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (November 12) certified Senate Bill 1074 that seeks to impose higher taxes on alcohol and e-cigarettes including heated tobacco products and vapes.

The higher sin tax aims to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act.

Committee chairperson, Sen. Pia Cayetano, said the higher sin tax will ensure that there will be sufficient funds for health services for all Filipinos and lesser consumption of the said sin products.

“I am pushing for a version that recommends higher tax rates than those approved by the House of Representatives for two reasons: first, it will provide proper funding for the delivery of health services to all Filipinos; and second, it will effectively reduce the consumption of sin products,” Cayetano said

In the House version, an estimated P47.9-billion tax will be collected and be allocated to the Universal Health Care program.

A total of P356.9-billion will be allotted for the program in the next five years. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Adults should have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 5, 2019

Much as we enjoy being a couch potato, our bodies need the right amount of exercise to stay healthy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults ages 18–64, to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week or 75 minutes of rigorous physical activity a week.

Studies have shown that physically adults have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

Other benefits include:

  • less risk of a hip or vertebral fracture;
  • exhibit a higher level of cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness; and
  • more likely to achieve weight maintenance, have a healthier body mass and composition.

The WHO said the recommendation is applicable to all healthy adults. However, there will be adjustments depending on the exercise capacity of an individual and the specific health risks or limitations.

“There are multiple ways of accumulating the total of 150 minutes per week. The concept of accumulation refers to meeting the goal of 150 minutes per week by performing activities in multiple shorter bouts, of at least 10 minutes each, spread throughout the week then adding together the time spent during each of these bouts: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week,” according to their statement.—AAC

WHO declares eradication of second strain of wild poliovirus strain

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2019

A child receives an oral polio vaccine from Red Cross volunteers during a vaccination program by the UNICEF at a public school building turned into a temporary evacuation center in the super typhoon devastated city of Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines, 26 November 2013. EPA/DENNIS M. SABANGAN

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide, hailing the development as a “historic achievement for humanity.”

The WHO made the announcement on World Polio day on Oct. 24.

There are three strains of wild poliovirus. All three types can cause irreversible paralysis or even death but the WHO said these three have genetic and virologic differences that must be eradicated individually.

The WPV3 is the second poliovoirus strain to be wiped out following the eradication of wild poliovirus 2 in 2015. The last confirmed case of WPV3 was reported in northern Nigeria in 2012, according to the WHO.

An independent panel of experts concluded that WPV3 strain has been eradicated after meeting the required criteria for verification.

“The achievement of polio eradication will be a milestone for global health. Commitment from partners and countries, coupled with innovation, means of the three wild polio serotypes, only type one remains,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Polio Oversight Board said in a statement.

“We remain fully committed to ensuring that all necessary resources are made available to eradicate all poliovirus strains. We urge all our other stakeholders and partners to also stay the course until final success is achieved,” he added.

According to Professor David Salisbury, chair of the independent Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication, the type 1 of wild poliovirus still continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We cannot stop our efforts now: we must eradicate all remaining strains of all polioviruses,” Salisbury said in a statement.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis and, on rare occasions, can be fatal.

Health authorities said there is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.

The WHO said eradicating WPV3 proves that a polio-free world is achievable. Key to success will be the ongoing commitment of the international development community. 

“To this effect, as part of a Global Health Week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in November 2019, the Reaching the Last Mile Forum will focus international attention on eradication of the world’s deadliest diseases,” the WHO said.

The agency believes the event will provide an opportunity for world leaders and civil society organizations to contribute to the last mile of polio eradication.

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