Smok­ing Will Kill One Bil­lion This Cen­tury

The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion (WHO) has issued a report that includes some omi­nous pro­jec­tions for smok­ers. Accord­ing to the report the WHO projects that one bil­lion peo­ple will die of smok­ing related dis­eases in the 21st century.

The WHO released these fig­ures as part of a report and rec­om­men­da­tions called “MPower.” (Click here for WHO sum­mary and link to full down­load­able report.) The report also con­tained other facts that include:

  • There were 100 mil­lion deaths from smok­ing related dis­eases in the 20th century
  • Cur­rently there are 5.4 mil­lion deaths every year
  • By the year 2030, that toll will increase to more than 8 mil­lion deaths every year
  • By 2030, more than 80% of tobacco deaths will be in devel­op­ing countries

Dr. Mar­garet Chan, WHO Director-​General states in the report, “Revers­ing this entirely pre­ventable epi­demic must now rank as a top pri­or­ity for pub­lic health and for polit­i­cal lead­ers in every coun­try of the world.” The MPower report lays out six strate­gies to com­bat this prob­lem. Dr. Chan empha­sized the impor­tance of these strate­gies, “While efforts to com­bat tobacco are gain­ing momen­tum, vir­tu­ally every coun­try needs to do more. These six strate­gies are within the reach of every coun­try, rich or poor and, when com­bined as a pack­age, they offer us the best chance of revers­ing this grow­ing epidemic.

The six MPOWER strate­gies are:

  • Mon­i­tor tobacco use and pre­ven­tion policies
  • Pro­tect peo­ple from tobacco smoke
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about the dan­gers of tobacco
  • Enforce bans on tobacco adver­tis­ing, pro­mo­tion and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the ini­tia­tives and the report. He com­mented, “The report released today is rev­o­lu­tion­ary,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “For the first time, we have both a rig­or­ous approach to stop the tobacco epi­demic and solid data to hold us all account­able. No coun­try fully imple­ments all of the MPOWER poli­cies and 80% of coun­tries don’t fully imple­ment even one pol­icy. While tobacco con­trol mea­sures are some­times con­tro­ver­sial, they save lives and gov­ern­ments need to step up and do the right thing.”

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