More stringent anti-smoking efforts mark 'No Tobacco Day'

Richard B. Levine  Sipa USA  TNS

Richard B. Levine Sipa USA TNS

According to the India-specific report, 68% of smokers reported that they were "well informed" about the impact of smoking on their health, and 51% were willing to quit.

"The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people each year", said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, in a statement marking May 31 World No Tobacco Day in Abuja. And it is the people of these countries that are the targets of intensive tobacco industry marketing.

She called on individuals to promote healthy hearts by committing not to use tobacco, helping others to quit, protect all people including family members, workers and children from tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke cannot only cause an upsurge in cardiovascular risk in nonsmokers, but also increases the risk manifold as exposure increases.

"There is compelling evidence from countries that have implemented tobacco reduction measures, that results can be seen quickly", says Dr. Adriana Blanco, Unit Chief of Risk Factors and Nutrition for the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at PAHO.

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However, the pace of action in reducing tobacco demand and related death and disease is lagging behind global and national commitments to reduce tobacco use by 30% by 2025 among people aged 15 and older.

"CVD kills more people than any other cause of death worldwide and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 12 per cent of all heart disease deaths".

In Brunei Darussalam, heart disease and stroke are the second and fourth highest cause of death, which, if combined, account for about 20 per cent of deaths in 2016. "Cigarette smoking is not only the primary, the inhaled part of it but also what's exhaled in the air and the environment and what precipitates and attaches to people's clothes and furniture".

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was adopted in November 2012 at the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties in Seoul, South Korea, and is open for ratification, acceptance and approval by the parties to the WHO FCTC.

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The relationship between heart disease and tobacco is the focus of this year's World No Tobacco Day, which carries the theme "Tobacco and Heart Disease".

According to a survey by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, despite almost seven of 10 smokers in India being aware that smoking is risky, 53 per cent have been unsuccessful in their attempts to quit. It is the initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), with the intention to draw the attention of the global community to the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

"The data show what we have anecdotally known for decades - that many smokers have the desire to quit, but not the means to match it", said Foundation President Derek Yach.

When a person smokes, it is not just their health that is at risk, but also the health of everyone around them.

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