I am long overdue in sending out a letter, but it is appropriate to do so on World No Tobacco Day, which is observed every May 31 by the World Health Organization and its partners. WNTD 2018 will focus on the impact of tobacco on cardiovascular disease. As internists, we are aware that the top 3 causes of mortality in Jamaica and the Caribbean are stroke, diabetes and heart disease. We often assume that it is general knowledge that tobacco use is an important risk factor for cardiovascular health, but many people are still blissfully unaware! Hence the buzzwords for this year are “Tobacco Breaks Hearts“ which you can see in the WHO promotional poster below.
It is also fitting to note that World Hypertension Day was observed on May 17 and the theme this year was “Know Your Numbers.” Its goal was to raise awareness globally about the importance of people knowing their blood pressure measurement.
Both of these days in May remind us of our responsibilities as doctors to teach and educate not only our patients but our family, circles of friends and communities about maintaining cardiometabolic health. As an organization of health professionals, the ACPJ supports public initiatives and legislation to eliminate tobacco use in public spaces, reduce exposure of youth to tobacco advertising, and increase efforts to promote hypertension prevention, detection, and control. In fact, several of our prior cherished ACJ Presidents tirelessly promoted these issues, notably Drs. Knox Hagley and Don Christian. So, let’s continue to play our roles as individual clinicians, and as a medical fraternity.
“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” – William Osler