Eight million people die from smoking annually, says World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation(WHO) has disclosed that at least eight million people die from smoking-induced illnesses annually, adding that the coronavirus pandemic has presented an opportunity for people to make the decision to quit smoking to reduce the number of fatalities recorded yearly.

Penpushing reports that the Director General of the world body Tedros Ghebreyesus, made this known in a statement emphasizing that, data also showed that smokeless tobacco is responsible for around 200,000 deaths from coronary heart disease per year.

“Smoking kills 8 million people a year, but if users need more motivation to kick the habit, the pandemic provides the right incentive,” he said,adding that at least 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease yearly.

Penpushing further reports that, Ghebreyesus pointed out that about 780 million people worldwide want to quit tobacco but only 30 per cent of them have access to the tools that can help them do so

“Quitting tobacco is challenging, especially with the added social and economic stresses that have come as a result of the pandemic. This prompted the international agency to launch a year-long global campaign “Commit to Quit” ahead of the 2021 World No Tobacco Day.

“The new WHO Quit Challenge on WhatsApp and publication “More than 100 reasons to quit tobacco” are being released today to mark the start of the campaign. The campaign will support at least 100 million people as they try to give up tobacco through communities of quitters,” he said.

Penpushing also reports that, the organisation noted that the campaign will help create healthier environments that are conducive to quitting tobacco by advocating for strong tobacco cessation policies; increasing access to cessation services; raising awareness of tobacco industry tactics, and empowering tobacco users to make successful quit attempts through “quit & win” initiatives.

The body said it will work with partners to create and build-up digital communities where people can find the social support they need to quit tobacco,stressing that “the focus will be on high burden countries* where the majority of the world’s tobacco users live.”

Penpushing further reports that, the World Health Organisation(WHO)  in 2017 predicted that smoking-related deaths will rise by more than a third to around 8 million a year by 2030, but barely 3 years after the projection, deaths from smoking have increased from six million to over eight million yearly.

The world health body, at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, had warned that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death from the infection, while record has it that tobacco is also a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes.

Penpushing reports that Director of Health Promotion Ruediger Krech said there was need to invest in services to encourage people to quit smoking, and urged everybody to divest from the tobbacco.

“Millions of people worldwide want to quit tobacco – we must seize this opportunity and invest in services to help them be successful, while we urge everyone to divest from the tobacco industry and their interests,”

Meanwhile, the organisation called on governments to ensure their citizens have access to brief advice, toll-free quit lines, mobile and digital cessation services, nicotine replacement therapies and other tools that are proven to help people quit.

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