World No Tobacco Day: Reduce tobacco consumption to save lives

Tobacco will contribute to 8 million deaths worldwide by 2030 if smoking isn’t quickly cut back says the World Health Organisation.

Every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hosts World No Tobacco Day to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use.

According to WHO, approximately one person dies every six seconds from tobacco use; around six million people a year. 600,000 of those deaths are caused by passive, or second hand smoking.

Director of the Respiratory Division at The George Institute for Global Health Australia, Professor Christine Jenkins, has said that great progress has been made in Australia in smoking reduction and reduced uptake in young people, but there is more that can be done.

“Smoking remains one of the biggest preventable global health threats for the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD’s).

“In Australia as our life expectancy increases, people live longer but disability and deaths due to tobacco related disease will remain very significant in over 60 year olds, due especially to lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These risks are increased in smokers and ex-smokers as they age.”

COPD is the fourth most common cause of death worldwide, mostly due to cigarette smoking. If current trends continue, COPD is likely to become one of the top three common causes of death by 2020.

The George Institute for Global Health, China, is currently conducting research looking at a novel combination of two affordable oral medications, each given at low doses, to reduce adverse effects and enhance efficacy of treatments.

“The study is about trying to find affordable therapies to control symptoms of COPD, and reduce exacerbations that often result in hospitalisations or death.

“However, the best course of treatment is prevention. Not taking up smoking and avoiding second hand smoke greatly reduces your chances of developing COPD.”

To find out more about the harmful effects of tobacco, click here