Tobacco kills one person every 34 seconds in the Americas


Washington– Tobacco control measures, particularly those to ensure smoke-free indoor public and work spaces, must be urgently stepped up in order to protect the health of the people of the Americas, says the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), regional branch for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Tobacco use has a major impact on health, killing one person every 4 seconds globally, and one person every 34 seconds in the Americas. This accounts for a total of 8 million deaths worldwide each year, with almost 1 million in the Region. Over half of lung cancer cases are related to tobacco, as are almost half of the cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The campaign for this year’s World No Tobacco Day (31 May), “tobacco and lung health”, focuses on how tobacco endangers lung health all over the world, and the importance of implementing effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and exposure.   “Tobacco is a threat to the lung health of everyone, not just smokers,” said Dr Hennis, Director of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at the Pan American Health Organization. “Every single death related to tobacco use or exposure is preventable. However, while the use of tobacco is declining in the Region, the pace of action to reduce tobacco use continues to lag behind global and regional commitments,” he added.

In order to reduce the threat of tobacco, countries must take urgent action to step up the implementation of the tobacco control measures outlined in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which are reinforced by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. “The implementation of these measures, particularly those relating to smoke-free indoor workplaces, public places, and public transport; implementing large health warnings, as well as the provision of services for those looking to quit tobacco, are vital to ensuring a smoke-free Americas,” said Rosa Sandoval, Regional Advisor for Tobacco Control at PAHO.   (PAHO/WHO)…[+]