Smoking remains the leading avoidable cause of death worldwide. The public health campaigns have turned out to be a failure, killing almost six million people a year (mostly in low- and middle-income countries), as per the World Health Organization report.
Tobacco use is believed to have caused the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century. Among the dead this year, five million were tobacco users or former users, while more than 600,000 died from second-hand smoke.
At a conference in Panama, the representatives of WHO said that if current trends hold, the number of deaths blamed on tobacco use will rise to eight million a year in 2030. The forecast is that about 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths in 2030 are expected in low- and middle-income countries.
WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said that if tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are not banned, adolescents and young adults will continue to be lured into tobacco consumption by an ever-more aggressive tobacco industry. He added that it is the responsibility of every country to protect its population from tobacco-related illness, disability and death.
Dr Douglas Bettcher, the Director of the WHO's Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases department, said, ‘’we know that only complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective. Countries that introduced complete bans together with other tobacco control measures have been able to cut tobacco use significantly within only a few years.”
The report also highlighted that 2.3 billion people from 92 countries will benefit from some form of smoking restrictions, more than double the number who did five years ago.
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