Increased awareness about the effects of tobacco continues to influence individuals, communities, and policymakers throughout the year, leading to positive changes in tobacco control efforts worldwide, says Dr S Dheeraj Krishnaa, Head - Wellness and Telehealth, Star Health and Allied Insurance.
In an interview with MintGenie, Krishnaa said that by emphasizing the negative impact of tobacco on individuals, families, and communities, “World Tobacco Day” aims to encourage individuals to make informed decisions and take steps to quit smoking or avoid starting in the first place,
Q. Smoking habits kill. Yet, so many people smoke. On average, how many health insurance claims does your company settle against smoking-related disorders?
Smoking is a dangerous habit that has numerous negative effects on the human body and overall health.
From respiratory problems to cardiovascular diseases, smoking poses a significant risk to both smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke. Here, we will delve into the elaborated negative effects of smoking on various aspects of health that include suffering from cancer, fertility problems, and birth defects too.
Hence it is very difficult to quantify the impact smoking has on health insurance claims.
Q. Do your prospective clients reveal their smoking habits?
Yes, prospective clients must disclose any smoking habits at the time of purchasing a policy. Smoking habits can lead to multiple long-term health issues. If a client intentionally or unintentionally does not disclose such habits, it can lead to complications when a claim is raised. In such an instance, non-disclosure is treated as fraud, and the claims of such individuals can be rejected.
Q. Does your insurance company take cognizance of e-smoking habits too?
Vaping refers to the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapour, produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device. The sale of e-cigarettes is banned in India.
Vaping gained popularity as an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking, with the perception that it may be a safer option. However, the long-term health effects of vaping are still being researched, and there is growing evidence suggesting that it carries its own set of risks.
The popularity of vaping has increased significantly in recent years, especially among young adults and adolescents. While it is challenging to provide precise figures, a study conducted in 2020 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that approximately 19.6 per cent of high school seniors in the United States reported vaping within the past month.
When it comes to health impacts, it is important to note that vaping is not without risks. It is essential to recognize that the long-term health impacts of vaping are still not fully understood, and further research is needed to assess its effects comprehensively. If you are considering vaping or have concerns about its use, it is advisable to consult with healthcare professionals who can provide personalized guidance and support.
Q. Lifestyle habits affect health insurance premiums. Despite this, people continue to indulge in tobacco-related addiction. What would be your advice to your customers?
There are several reasons why people continue to indulge in smoking, despite the well-known health risks associated with it.
It's important to note that smoking is a complex issue, and different individuals have unique motivations and circumstances. Quitting smoking can be challenging, and it often requires a combination of personal commitment, support systems, and effective strategies for breaking the addiction.
Q. How much difference do you think "World No Tobacco Day” makes in awareness?
“World No Tobacco Day” is an annual event observed on May 31st, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use and promote efforts to reduce tobacco consumption worldwide. The campaign aims to educate the public about the health risks associated with tobacco use, advocate for effective tobacco control policies, and support individuals in quitting smoking.
This day plays a crucial role in creating awareness and fostering a global conversation about the dangers of tobacco. Through various activities, campaigns, and media outreach, it highlights the risks of tobacco use, including the connection to numerous health problems such as cancer, heart disease, respiratory disorders, and more. By emphasizing the negative impact of tobacco on individuals, families, and communities, this day aims to encourage individuals to make informed decisions and take steps to quit smoking or avoid starting in the first place.
The awareness generated by observing this day is significant in several ways:
Education: The campaign provides vital information about the health risks associated with tobacco use. It helps people understand the addictive nature of tobacco products and the harm caused by both active and passive smoking. By disseminating facts and statistics, observing this day contributes to increasing public knowledge about tobacco-related diseases.
Advocacy: The event encourages governments, organizations, and communities to take action against tobacco use. It advocates for strong tobacco control policies, such as higher taxes on tobacco products, comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, and the implementation of smoke-free environments. The awareness generated helps in garnering support for these measures and urges policymakers to prioritize public health.
Smoking cessation support: Observing this day offers an opportunity to reach out to smokers and provide them with resources and support to quit smoking. It promotes the availability of cessation programs, counselling services, helplines, and other assistance that can aid individuals in their journey toward a tobacco-free life. By highlighting these resources, the campaign encourages smokers to seek help and improve their health.
Community engagement: The day fosters community engagement by organizing events, public discussions, and awareness campaigns at local, national, and international levels. These activities bring people together to share their experiences, knowledge, and success stories in quitting smoking. They create a sense of solidarity and encourage individuals to support each other in their efforts to overcome tobacco addiction.
Overall, observing this day contributes to the global fight against tobacco use by raising awareness, advocating for policy changes, and providing support for smokers to quit. Its impact extends beyond the day itself, as the generated awareness continues to influence individuals, communities, and policymakers throughout the year, leading to positive changes in tobacco control efforts worldwide.