Smokers urged not to light up for a day

Cansa’s Carl Albrecht says smoking is one of the biggest mistakes humankind has made.

Thousands of South Africans are still lighting up every day. Picture: Mia Spies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Although smoking is the number one cause of cancer in the world, thousands of South Africans are still lighting up every day.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the 'Too Cool To Smoke' initiative invites all smokers to take the first step in kicking the habit and putting their packets away just for today.

But this seems easier said than done and for some, this is simply too much to ask.

A researcher for the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) Carl Albrecht says smoking is one of the biggest mistakes humankind has made.

"It's certainly still the number one cause of cancer in the world. There are about a million people a year who are dying because of lung cancer, which is mainly induced by smoking."

But he says there is hope, as social behaviour is changing.

The 'Too Cool To Smoke' initiative's Tanya Bennetts says, "We're hoping to help people understand that they can do something to help themselves and reduce the risk of cancer."

On average, lung cancer kills more than 1 million people worldwide every year.