World No Tobacco Day targets habit that 'breaks hearts'

World No Tobacco Day targets habit that 'breaks hearts'

World No Tobacco Day targets habit that 'breaks hearts'

Tobacco use has declined markedly since 2000, according to a new World Health Organization report, but the reduction is insufficient to meet globally agreed targets aimed at protecting people from death and suffering from cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

"World No Tobacco Day" is a global campaign, inviting everyone - from global leaders to the public in all countries - to focus on the health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Spreading the message that tobacco causes deadly illnesses such as heart disease and stroke helps prevent "needless" loss of life, United Nations health experts have said.

Abuja - As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) wednesday tasked the federal government and other stakeholders on the need to stem the tide of tobacco-related diseases in the country. The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is "Tobacco and heart disease". Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke contribute to about 12 per cent of all heart disease deaths.

However, the United States is now not on track, bogged down by litigation over warnings on cigarette packaging and lags in taxation, said Vinayak Prasad of the WHO's tobacco control unit.

"In addition, every person can play a role in promoting healthy hearts by committing not to use tobacco, helping others to quit, and protecting all people, including family members, workers and children, from tobacco smoke".

China and India have the highest numbers of smokers worldwide, accounting for 307 million and 106 million, respectively, of the world's 1.1 billion adult smokers, followed by Indonesia with 74 million, WHO figures show. For females, 11% smoked in 2000, compared to 6% in 2015.

"Worldwide, about 7 percent, or just over 24 million children aged 13-15, smoke cigarettes", it said, or around 17 million boys and 7 million girls.

Developing countries: Over 80% of tobacco smokers live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICS).

"The good news is that these deaths are preventable and we know what needs to be done", Dr Bettcher said.

Launching the WHO's global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco smoking, he said that industrialised countries are making faster progress than developing countries.

Commenting on efforts to encourage people to quit, the United Nations health expert warned that only around 12 per cent countries are on track to meet global targets to reduce by one-third the number of people dying from non-communicable diseases by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

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