(Jamaica Observer) Every year, on May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) highlighting the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce its consumption.
A release from the Heart Foundation of Jamaica said WNTD 2018 will focus on the impact tobacco has on the cardiovascular health of people worldwide under the theme ‘Tobacco Breaks Hearts — Chose health, not tobacco’.
“Tobacco use is an important risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, and despite the known harms of tobacco to heart health and the availability of solutions to reduce related death and disease, knowledge among large sections of the public that tobacco is one of the leading causes of CVD (cardiovascular diseases) is low, the release said.
CVD kill more people than any other cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 12 per cent of all heart disease deaths, the release continued.
According to the release, the global tobacco epidemic kills more than seven million people each year, of which close to 900,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.
“In Jamaica 23 per cent of deaths is attributable to cardiovascular disease and currently, the Ministry of Health spends $22 billion on NCDs (non-communicable diseases) of which tobacco smoking is an underlying factor,” the release said.
The release said, too, that advocacy group, Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control, endorses this years’ WNTD theme and strongly advocates for the enactment of comprehensive tobacco control legislation which includes the ban on tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorship and the enforcement of current tobacco control regulations, as these will go a far way in addressing the health and economic issues which threaten the country’s national development.