Nearly six million die from smoking every year: WHO

July 10, 2013

Despite public health campaigns, smoking remains the leading avoidable cause of death worldwide, killing almost six million people a year, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

If current trends hold, the number of deaths blamed on tobacco use will rise to eight million a year in 2030, the WHO said in a briefing unveiled at a conference in Panama.

About 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths forecast for 2030 are expected in low- and middle-income countries, the report added.

"If we do not close ranks and ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, adolescents and young adults will continue to be lured into tobacco consumption by an ever-more aggressive tobacco industry," said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

"Every country has the responsibility to protect its population from tobacco-related illness, disability and death."

Among the dead this year, five million were tobacco users or former users, while more than 600,000 died from second-hand smoke, according to the WHO.

Tobacco use is believed to have caused the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century.

Barring dramatic change, the tally for this century could soar to one billion people, the WHO warned.

"We know that only complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective," Dr. Douglas Bettcher, the Director of the WHO's Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases department, told the Panama conference.

"Countries that introduced complete bans together with other tobacco control measures have been able to cut tobacco use significantly within only a few years," he said.

The report noted that 2.3 billion people from 92 countries benefit from some form of smoking restrictions, more than double the number who did five years ago.

However, that figure still represents just a third of the world's population, it said.

Explore further: Tobacco control policies stop people from smoking and save lives

Related Stories

Tobacco control policies stop people from smoking and save lives

June 30, 2013
Tobacco control measures put in place in 41 countries between 2007 and 2010 will prevent some 7.4 million premature deaths by 2050, according to a study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization today.

WHO urges global ban on all tobacco marketing

May 29, 2013
Governments worldwide must ban all forms of tobacco marketing, not just billboards and TV ads, as companies find new ways to tap the market, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Action needed to help tobacco users quit across the globe

June 24, 2013
More than half of the countries who signed the WHO 2005 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have not formed plans to help tobacco users quit.

Tobacco control measures in India could prevent heart disease and stroke deaths

July 9, 2013
Implementing smoke-free laws and increased tobacco taxes in India would yield substantial and rapid health benefits by averting future cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths, according to a new study published this week in PLOS ...

Australia urges world to stand up to tobacco industry

May 31, 2013
Australia on Friday urged governments around the globe to stand up to the tobacco industry, saying it was confident of victory in a new legal battle over its landmark plain packaging rules.

Cash cuts increase smoking death risk for world's poor, study says

November 15, 2012
Proposed funding cuts within the international body responsible for tobacco control will leave the world's poorest countries more vulnerable to smoking-related diseases, a study suggests.

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.