Tobacco kills one person every four seconds
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says that the use of tobacco is responsible for the death of one person every four seconds globally, and one person every 34 seconds in the Americas.
This accounts for a total of eight million deaths worldwide each year, with almost one million in the region.
According to PAHO, more than half of lung cancer cases are related to tobacco, as are almost half of the cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PAHO said that 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.
Friday, 31 May, is being observed as World No Tobacco Day, under the theme “tobacco and lung health”.
“Tobacco is a threat to the lung health of everyone, not just smokers,” said Dr Anselm Hennis, director of the department of non-communicable diseases and mental health at PAHO.
"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.