In its determination to reduce ailments and deaths arising from tobacco use worldwide, the World Health Organization, WHO, has called on nations to step up measures against tobacco companies. The agency estimated that eight million people around the world die of tobacco-related diseases yearly, and that the trend would continue till 2030.

Coincidentally, cancer and tobacco kill about the same population yearly – eight million people, according to the WHO. The agency explained that at least 1.6 million, representing 20 percent of total deaths from cancer, are tobacco-related. It said further that researches had shown that tobacco is responsible for highest cancer burden and deaths.

In its message to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day, the agency informed that the day helps nations to recall that “tobacco is the single biggest cause of cancer in the world and the leading cause of preventable deaths. “Every year, 8.2 million people die from cancer; at least 1.6 million or 20% of these are tobacco-related. In total, more than 6 million people will die this year from tobacco-related diseases including cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases and cancer,” it added. WHO said the world would later this month celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – the first intergovernmental treaty established to dramatically change tobacco control worldwide.

The agency maintained that since the pact came into force in February 2005, it had come up with a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms, worldwide. It also urged nations to recommit to further reducing tobacco use to help guarantee tobacco-free world in the nearest future. “The 10th anniversary of the WHO FCTC shows how coordinated and multisectoral national and international action in the area of tobacco control can de-normalize a risk-factor and move the health agenda forward. It demonstrates that health can indeed persuade other sectors to take action, through taxes, graphic health warnings, legislation and marketing bans to save lives.

“But the war on tobacco is not over yet. We still expect 8 million people to be dying each year by 2030 – because they have smoked tobacco or have been exposed to second hand smoke. The use of alternative products such as water pipes, smokeless tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems are gaining in popularity and will need to be addressed through tobacco control measures. The illicit tobacco market still counts for 1 in every 10 cigarettes consumed globally.

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