Survey in Tajikistan on World No Tobacco Day highlights dangers of smoking

WHO/Tahmina Alimamedova

World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2012 marked the start of a new campaign year, in which WHO is urging countries to put the fight against tobacco industry interference at the heart of their efforts to control the global tobacco epidemic. 

In line with annual celebrations of World No Tobacco Day, the WHO Country Office in Tajikistan organized short interviews among the population living in Dushanbe on tobacco use and its serious health consequences. All interviewees commented on the dangers of smoking and the need for personal and/or public action to curb the epidemic. 

The WHO Country Office also developed special information, education and communication programmes that were broadcast in Tajik on one of the nation-wide radio channels "Sadoi Dushanbe". The television channel "Safina" broadcast a programme involving experts and health representatives who presented promotional material urging everyone to stop using tobacco in order to protect their health. 

Interviews

Randomly selected interviewees in Dushanbe were informed that tobacco kills up to half of its users, and asked how they think we can stop tobacco use and raise public awareness of its effects. 

Manizha, 16: I think smoking is very bad for our health. The effects on health and appearance can influence people to stop smoking. I can warn, advise and try to convince my friends, but mostly it depends on the person himself. 

Timur, 28: I was a smoker for four years. I tried many times and in different ways to quit. I stopped smoking only when I realized that it is very bad for my health. It was very difficult for me, but I did it.

Zarina and Tamila: First of all, smoking is bad for our health. Secondly, we would like to note that we do not smoke, because of moral values. We have friends who smoke and it influences us very negatively. We have a friend who has not smoked for five months, since we strongly encouraged him to stop. We think each person has to know that it is very damaging for his or her health. 

Ibodulloov, 44: Tobacco usage hugely impacts the health and health status of each person as a whole. When I was young and served in the army, I used to smoke. When I started realizing that my health condition was worsening, I stopped smoking immediately. I would like to urge everyone to try not to smoke. I think all public places should have signs, posters and any information, communication and education materials urging everyone to draw attention to the health damage caused by tobacco usage. I think it is essential to produce special radio and video promotional materials. I would like to highlight that it is crucial for every one of us to have a safer and healthier future!  

Akhmadov Ibrahim: I do not smoke, though I did while I was a student. I was influenced to stop because of the importance for my appearance and health condition. Now I do not like it at all. I have tried in different ways to convince and help my friends to stop. I have told them about options, such as eating sweets and listening to music. It is very important to find an approach and policy to fight this.

Ahmad: I smoked for 33 years, but stopped eight years ago because my health was worsening. I had a strong cough and a weak condition and this made me stop it. 

Shakhnoza, 35: I consider smoking to be very dangerous for our health, and most of all it is not appropriate from an appearance standpoint. It also pollutes the atmosphere and causes a series of dangerous diseases, such as lung cancer – even to those people who don't smoke. I think it is very difficult to stop smoking, as well as to convince people who are smokers that they should stop. You have to be strong-willed and should constantly fight against it. Several methods are needed to stop smoking, such as the use of an electrical cigarette. 

Dilorom, 53: We should show many examples and more frequently talk about this problem to everyone. The harm tobacco causes to our health should be brought to people's attention at open lectures and classes for students and schoolchildren. I think it is very important to start this at the beginning. I suggest that special classes and open hours at schools and universities be organized on the dangerous consequences of using tobacco, alcohol and drugs. 

Christopher, 30: I think the only way to get people to stop smoking is to find some way to neutralize the nicotine addiction. Otherwise no matter how bad smoking is people will still smoke. 

Alisha, 28: I consider the damage caused by tobacco to be dangerous both to the smoker himself and the people around him. For example, designated places for people to smoke reduces the health impact on others. My husband smoked for 20 years and no method could solve this problem. When he saw the nightmare of the serious damage it can cause to health, he immediately stopped. I think everyone needs an individual approach (based on science, religion and/or teaching). Our job is to inform, direct, advocate and try to convince. The health of our future generation depends on this.