November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which aims to recognize the challenges for individuals and families diagnosed with this dangerous disease. Not only is lung cancer one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among First Nations people, there is a worrying trend showing these rates are increasing.
It is estimated that over 80 per cent of all lung cancer cases are directly related to smoking commercial tobacco and this continues to be the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Canada.
The FNHA wellness streams—Being Active, Eating Healthy, Nurturing Spirit and Respecting Tobacco—are approaches that can help improve health and play a major role in preventing some of the most commonly diagnosed cancers.
If you use commercial tobacco, quitting can be one of the best ways to improve overall physical health and help reduce the chance of developing cancer.
People who smoke, especially those who have respiratory, cardiovascular or other conditions caused by smoking, seem to be at higher risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 infection, requiring ICU admission, and/or mechanical ventilation.
Vaping can cause lung damage as well as other respiratory health problems, and may put smokers at higher risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. As smoking adversely affects the immune system, it decreases the body's natural ability to heal from infections and increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infection, including COVID-19.
Smoking or vaping around Elders, those with chronic illness, or those who are immunosuppressed (this includes pregnant women) should be strictly avoided; these groups are at the highest risk of having poor outcomes related to COVID-19 infection.
For more resources on the risks of smoking and vaping: