Almost Two Million People Die From Tobacco-Induced Heart Disease Each Year, New Report Finds
Almost two million people die each year from tobacco-induced heart disease, a new report by the World Health Organization has found.
Around one in five deaths from heart disease are caused by tobacco use or exposure to second-hand smoke.
And just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease, the report warns.
Around 1.4 billion people are thought to use tobacco worldwide, according to 2017 estimates.
And while the number of smokers has fallen in the last decade, the latest findings, which were published on Tuesday, serves as another stark reminder of the silent health risks posed by casual tobacco use.
In the face of the current Covid-19 pandemic, experts have called on governments and industry leaders to step up controls and increase support for those looking to quit, in a bid to reduce the burden on the already-stressed global healthcare system.
“Governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their people and help reverse the tobacco epidemic,” Dr Vinayak Prasad, head of the WHO ‘No Tobacco Unit’ said.
“Making our communities smoke-free reduces the number of tobacco-related hospital admissions, which is more important than ever in the context of the current pandemic,” he added.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability globally.
The disease contributes to 16.6 per cent, of the 56 million global annual deaths, with tobacco-related heart disease thought to be responsible for 1.9 million of those deaths.
While there is no cure for coronary heart disease, these deaths are preventable, authors of the report said.
Tobacco control measures have been shown to substantially benefit heart health and if users take immediate action and quit, then their risk of heart disease will decrease by 50 per cent after one year of not smoking.
However, users should not be lured into believing e-cigarettes or vapes present a harm-free and sustainable alternative to tobacco use, authors of the report warn.
E-cigarettes still contain highly addictive levels of nicotine and toxic substances.
The toxic substances can also lead to the narrowing of arteries, increased heart rate and raised blood pressure.
While the aerosols produced by E-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals harmful to both users and non-users, and therefore come with health risks of their own, the report warned.
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Written by Jordan Kelly-Linden