Tobacco kills eight million people each year: WHO

Tobacco kills eight million people each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Friday.

WHO said on Wednesday that 40% percent of tobacco victims die from lung diseases and about one million from second-hand smoke.

More than 60,000 children under five years old die of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke, WHO director for non-communicable diseases, Vinayak Prasad, said in a briefing.

Globally, there are around 1.1 billion people smokers.

Anti-tobacco campaigns and measures are bearing fruit, but mostly in high income countries, Prasad said, while the smoking population remained constant or even increased in low-income countries, where the tobacco industry is now focusing sales efforts.

Prasad issued a caveat on e-cigarettes, saying there is no evidence proving they were a safer alternative to cigarettes, warning that it normalises smoking and hooks young people.

WHO recommends that e-cigarettes be subjected to the same guidelines as for tobacco products, meaning non-smokers should be protected from second-hand smoke, pregnant women should be prohibited from using them, and advertising content must be regulated.

Earlier this week, more than 100 public health and anti-tobacco organisations called on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to take swift action to curb advertising of tobacco products on their platforms, after a Reuters report documented how cigarette maker Philip Morris International has used young personalities on Instagram to sell a new “heated tobacco” product called IQOS.






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