• Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
• Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
• Over 80% of the world's 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.
Leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment
The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
All forms of tobacco are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide. Other tobacco products include waterpipe tobacco, various smokeless tobacco products, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, bidis and kreteks.
Surveillance is key
Effective monitoring tracks the extent and character of the tobacco epidemic and indicates how best to implement policies. Only 1 in 3 countries, representing 38% of the world's population, monitors tobacco use by repeating nationally representative youth and adult surveys at least once every 5 years.
• WHO Director-General Special Awards for World No Tobacco Day announced: Minister of Health India and University of Bath for exceptional achievement in tobacco control.
• Smokers face a 40 – 50% higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19.
• WHO partners with Viber, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, WeChat and AI company Soul Machines to reach billions with free digital quitting tobacco aids.
The World Health Organization’s 'Commit to Quit’ tobacco campaign has made resources from its Quitting Toolkit freely available to more than a billion tobacco users, less than 5 months into the year-long campaign.
WHO launched the campaign to support those millions of tobacco users who are actively taking steps to save their lives, but still need help to succeed.
The campaign is currently working directly with 29 focus countries. Each country agreed with WHO on selected activities, including, running national awareness campaigns, releasing new digital tools, revising policies, engaging youth, training health workers, opening new cessation clinics, supporting nicotine replacement therapies through WHO partners, establishing national toll-free quit lines, making quitting courses available, and more.
“Smokers have up to a 50% higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19, so quitting is best thing smokers can do to lower their risk from this coronavirus, as well as the risk of developing cancers, heart disease and respiratory illnesses,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We urge all countries to play their part by joining the WHO campaign and creating tobacco-free environments that give people the information, support and tools they need to quit, and quit for good.”
“To help tobacco users to commit to be quitters and winners, we are using digital aids to release the WHO Quit Challenge chatbot and Artificial Intelligence digital health worker Florence, and making advocacy material available in 30 languages,” added Dr Rüdiger Krech, Director Health Promotion, WHO.
The Quit Challenge gives daily notifications of tips and encouragement for up to 6 months to help people remain tobacco free. It is available for free on WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.
Globally, roughly 39% of men and 9% of women use tobacco. The highest tobacco use rates among men are currently found in the Western Pacific region at 49%, and among women in Europe at 19%.
The campaign focus countries are Republic of Kenya, Arab Republic of Egypt, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of India and People’s Republic of China, just to name a few.
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Original link to the article: - https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2021-who-supports-people-quitting-tobacco-to-reduce-their-risk-of-severe-covid-19