Thursday October 18, 2018

According To WHO, Smoking Is A major Cause Of Death And Disease

The WHO clinched a landmark treaty in 2005, now ratified by 180 countries, that calls for a ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and taxes to discourage use.

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Three million people die prematurely each year because of tobacco use that causes cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke. Pixabay
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Fewer people are smoking worldwide, especially women, but only one country in eight is on track to meet a target of reducing tobacco use significantly by 2025, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Three million people die prematurely each year because of tobacco use that causes cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke, the world’s leading killers, it said, marking World No Tobacco Day. They include 890,000 deaths through secondhand smoke exposure.

Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO's prevention of noncommunicable diseases department.
The worldwide prevalence of tobacco smoking has decreased from 27 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2016, so progress has been made. Pixabay

The WHO clinched a landmark treaty in 2005, now ratified by 180 countries, that calls for a ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and taxes to discourage use.

“The worldwide prevalence of tobacco smoking has decreased from 27 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2016, so progress has been made,” Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO’s prevention of noncommunicable diseases department, told a news briefing.

Better pace in industrialized nations

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

“One of the major factors impeding low- and middle-income countries certainly is countries face resistance by a tobacco industry who wishes to replace clients who die by freely marketing their products and keeping prices affordable for young people,” he added.

Progress in kicking the habit is uneven, with the Americas the only region set to meet the target of a 30 percent reduction in tobacco use by 2025 compared with 2010, for both men and women, the WHO said.

African men are lagging.
Parts of Western Europe have reached a “standstill,” particularly because of a failure to get women to stop smoking. Pixabay

However, the United States is currently 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.

Parts of Western Europe have reached a “standstill,” particularly because of a failure to get women to stop smoking, African men are lagging, and tobacco use in the Middle East is actually set to increase, the WHO said.

Risk awareness

Overall, tobacco kills more than 7 million a year and many people know that it increases the risk of cancer, the WHO said. But many tobacco users in China and India are unaware of their increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke, making it urgent to step up awareness campaigns, it said.

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“The percentage of adults who do not believe smoking causes stroke are, for example, in China as high as 73 percent; for heart attacks, 61 percent of adults in China are not aware that smoking increases the risk,” Bettcher said. “We aim to close this gap.”

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. India also has 200 million of the world’s 367 million smokeless tobacco users. (VOA)

 

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WHO Calls Emergency Meeting On Congo’s Ebola

Congo's health ministry says there are now 179 confirmed cases, including 104 deaths.

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In this photo taken Sept 9, 2018, a health worker sprays disinfectant on his colleague after working at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, DRC. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is convening a meeting on Wednesday to determine whether Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

Aid organizations have expressed alarm as the rate of new cases has more than doubled this month and community resistance to Ebola containment efforts in some cases has turned violent.

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Photo taken Sept 9, 2018, shows health workers walking with a boy suspected of having the Ebola virus at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, Eastern Congo. VOA

This is Congo’s tenth Ebola outbreak but this is the first time the deadly virus has appeared in the far northeast, an area of active rebel attacks that health workers have compared to a war zone.

WHO recently said the risk of regional spread was “very high” as confirmed cases were reported close to the heavily traveled border with Uganda.

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Congo’s health ministry says there are now 179 confirmed cases, including 104 deaths. (VOA)