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Cigarettes Are Not Politically Correct

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Whether you believe it or not, cigarettes play a rather significant role in developing diseases which lead to early death in the smoking population. When it comes to the level of impact on mortality rates, race and gender most definitely play their parts.

It’s not every day that one is informed that the cigarette smoked is quite racist or sexist in itself. After all, it’s a social construct one must deal with, no? Its discriminatory attitude is not directed to a certain part of the world, however, but the colour of one’s skin and gender born to.

It’s prudent to mention a few mortality facts first, however. According to the World Health Organization, over 5 million smokers cease to breathe annually, with 80% of the one billion smokers living in middle-to-poor income countries. 500 million of these individuals will meet their end due to direct contact with cancer-causing cigarettes. With the current trend and rise in mortality rates, it’s estimated that the 21st century will see a total of 1 billion deaths directly related to the use of marketed tobacco.

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Now, what if you were told that you might live longer than your typical English friend, just because you are of African descent and they purely of the “white” breed? Even more baffling is the idea of both you and your friend living longer than a child born to you would, because of its “coloured” genetics. Wonder of all wonders, tobacco’s fatal effects are less likely to kill a black coloured South African than a white one. How do we know?

A study published in The Lancet looked at 481,640 South Africans of white, black and coloured populations, concluding that the purest Africans were less likely to die.

The results of looking at smoking-related deaths between 1999 and 2007 also found that there’s sexism involved. As strange as it may sound, African females had a 2% mortality rate, versus 27% of coloured males. That means trouble for many countries where they are predominantly comprised of white or European populations with a clear dominance in male smokers.

If you are an African female, pop that champagne bottle and thank the mother that bore you! It does not mean you won’t die; it just means that the chances of living as you are for longer increases.

To target smokers and help them quit, one of the latest treatment options developed is the use of personalized anti-smoking text messaging through a program focusing on the psycho-behavioural instead of the clinical.