Tobacco kills 7 million yearly

Tobacco kills 7 million yearly

… says WHO on World No Tobacco Day

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti
WHO Africa Regional Director

The World Health Organization (WHO), Wednesday said no fewer than seven million people die, worldwide every year from tobacco-related diseases.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, while commemorating 2018 World No Tobacco Day, said out of the seven million, 146,000 people are Africans.

She said every year on 31 May, WHO and its partners observe “World No Tobacco” Day to highlight the dangers associated with using tobacco, and to press for policies to reduce tobacco use.

This year’s theme: “Tobacco and heart disease,” focuses on tobacco use as a key risk factor for developing heart and related diseases, including stroke.

“The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people each year. Tobacco breaks hearts. Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke contribute to about 12% of all heart disease deaths. There is no safe level for people, particularly children, women and workers, who have to be in the same room as smokers.

“In the African Region, about 146,000 adults aged 30 years and above die every year from tobacco-related diseases. When tobacco users die prematurely in their productive years, families lose loved ones and income, and economic development is negatively affected”, she said.

Moeti however said more needs to be done to further raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use as many people are unaware that tobacco is one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.

“Eliminating tobacco use will help to protect hearts from breaking. Let us choose health, not tobacco,” she said.

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