One person dies every six seconds due to tobacco: WHO



By Newsgram Staff Writer

Tobacco smoking has become a major single cause of cancer mortality [death] around the world.

According to a report by WHO, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, which kills nearly six million people a year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco, accounting for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.

The report says, “Tobacco caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century. If current trends continue, it may cause one billion deaths in the 21st century.”

Unchecked, tobacco-related deaths will increase to more than eight million per year by 2030. More than 80% of those deaths will be in low-and middle-income countries, the report suggests.

However, despite the menace caused by tobacco consumption, only four countries, representing just over a third of the world’s population, monitor tobacco use by repeating nationally representative youth and adult surveys at least once every five years.

As per the report, studies show that few people understand the specific health risks of tobacco use. For example, a 2009 survey in China revealed that only 38% of smokers knew that smoking causes coronary heart disease and only 27% knew that it causes stroke.

Among smokers who are aware of the dangers of tobacco, most want to quit. Counseling and medication can more than double the chance that a smoker who tries to quit will succeed.

National comprehensive cessation services with full or partial cost-coverage are available to assist tobacco users to quit in only 21 countries, representing 15% of the world’s population.