The World Health Organisation, WHO, said Tobacco use has declined markedly since 2000, 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).
For World No Tobacco Day 2018, WHO has joined with the World Heart Federation to highlight the link between tobacco and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) – the world’s leading causes of death, responsible for 44% of all NCD deaths, or 17.9 million deaths annually.
Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure are major causes of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and stroke, contributing to approximately 3 million deaths per year. But evidence reveals a serious lack of knowledge of the multiple health risks associated with tobacco.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said “Most people know that using tobacco causes cancer and lung disease, but many people aren’t aware that tobacco also causes heart disease and stroke, the world’s leading killers.
“This World No Tobacco Day, WHO is drawing attention to the fact that tobacco doesn’t just cause cancer, it quite literally breaks hearts.” he added
While many people are aware tobacco use increases the risk of cancer, there are alarming gaps in knowledge of the cardiovascular risks of tobacco use. In many countries, this low awareness is substantial; for example in China, over 60% of the population is unaware smoking can cause heart attacks, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey. In India and Indonesia, more than half of adults do not know smoking can cause stroke.
Dr. Douglas Bettcher, WHO Director for the Prevention of NCDs says “Governments have the power in their hands to protect their citizens from suffering needlessly from heart disease.
“Measures that reduce the risks to heart health posed by tobacco include making all indoor public and workplaces completely smoke-free and promoting use of tobacco package warnings that demonstrate the health risks of tobacco.”