Tobacco: 7 million users die annually, says WHO

Director General, WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that about 7 million tobacco users die annually. In a report titled: “Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview”, the Director General, WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, said “Tobacco threatens us all. Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air.

“But by taking robust tobacco control measures, governments can safeguard their countries’ futures by protecting tobacco users and non-users from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services, and saving their environment from the ravages tobacco causes.”

The report also showed the impact of the product on nature, including tobacco waste which contains over 7,000 toxic chemicals that poison the environment, including human carcinogens.

“Tobacco smoke emissions contribute thousands of tons of human carcinogens, toxicants, and greenhouse gases to the environment. And tobacco waste is the largest type of litter by count globally. Between 10 and 15 billion cigarettes sold daily are disposed in the environment.

Cigarette butts account for 30–40 percent of all items collected in coastal and urban clean-ups,” the report added.