The use of Tobacco kills nearly seven million people annually, and more than 900 000 of these people are exposed to second-hand smoke; these deaths occurring among people between ages of 25 to 40. In fact, tobacco kills up to one half of all its users and remains one of the leading preventable causes of death. There is no known health benefit of tobacco but it causes disease, disability and premature death.
Consumption of tobacco is legal and when used exactly as intended by its manufacturers it kills its users. This confirms the popular catchphrase on cigarettes packets ‘smokers are liable to die young’.
Apart from the ‘death reward’ tobacco users’ gain, other disease conditions from smoking includes: heart disease, long cancer, stroke, infertility, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), blindness etc.
Large segments of the public do not realize that the leading cause of cardiovascular disease is Tobacco. Hence, on World No Tobacco Day this year, WHO aims to increase public awareness on the link between tobacco, exposure to second hand smoke and cardiovascular disease as they themed it “tobacco breaks the heart”.
WHO therefore encourages cardiovascular specialists and communities to take charge, lead and educate, to limit tobacco use and so as to reduce this cardiovascular disease epidemic at all levels; the public at large to make every effort to reduce the risks to their heart health by quitting tobacco, avoiding its use and exposure to second hand smoke; Governments to take all possible action to control tobacco use by raising public awareness on the link between tobacco use and heart disease; and countries and civil society to scale up prevention and control of cardiovascular disease by intensifying action on the six MPOWER measures in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and so reduce tobacco demand. The six MPOWER measures are: monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; protect people from tobacco smoke; offer help to quit; warn about the dangers; enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raise taxes on tobacco.