WHO campaign: Tobacco Breaks Hearts
By Amina Abdul Salam
A campaign launched under the slogan "Tobacco Breaks Hearts. Choose health not tobacco" has been launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners to mark World No Tobacco Day.
It highlights the health and other risks associated with tobacco use and calls for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of premature death and disability worldwide. It is also a key risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.
“In most countries in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disease”, says Dr Jaouad Mahjour, Acting WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Large sections of the public do not realise that tobacco is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Thus, on World No Tobacco Day this year, WHO aims to increase public awareness on the link between tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke and cardiovascular disease.
“Tobacco use in the region has risen among men, women, boys and girls”, says Dr Mahjour. “In some countries of the region, 52 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women use tobacco. The rates among youth are particularly worrying. They can reach 42 per cent among boys and 31 per cent among girls. This includes shisha (water pipe) smoking which is more popular among the youth than cigarettes.”
On the eve of World No Tobacco Day 2018, WHO encourages:
– cardiovascular communities and specialists to take charge, educate and lead to limit tobacco use and so contain this cardiovascular disease epidemic at national and regional levels;
– The public at large to make every effort to reduce the risks to their heart health by quitting tobacco, avoiding its use and exposure to secondhand smoke;
– Governments to take all possible action to control tobacco use and raise public awareness of the link between tobacco use and heart disease;
– Countries and civil society to scale up prevention and control of cardiovascular disease by intensifying action on the six MPower measures in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and so reduce demand for tobacco.
The six MPower measures are: monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; protect people from tobacco smoke; offer help to quit; warn about the dangers; enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raise taxes on tobacco.