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Tobacco use a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases in Jamaica

Tobacco use a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases in Jamaica

Omiyefa said: "Tobacco use has been linked to over seven million deaths worldwide and causes a lot of deaths related to noncommunicable diseases including cancers, cardiovascular diseases and stroke every year".

Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure are major causes of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and stroke, contributing to approximately 3 million deaths per year.

"WHO has estimated that tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) is now responsible for the death of about six million people across the world each year with numerous deaths occurring prematurely".

On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day Thursday, the United Nations health agency hailed that smoking had declined significantly since year 2000, but warned that there were still far too many people indulging in the risky habit.

Government data shows that 26pc of people in the country smoke cigarettes.

The 2018 World Tobacco Day Theme is "Tobacco and heart disease".

Women who smoke are more likely to give birth prematurely, putting their babies at risk for developing a disease called Retinopathy of prematurity which is one of the causes of vision loss in babies if not treated.

A new World Health Organization report reveals that tobacco wastes contains 7,000 toxic chemicals that poison the environment, including human carcinogens; tobacco smoke emissions contribute thousands of tons of human carcinogens, toxicants and greenhouse gasses to the environment.

Idris noted that coronary heart disease (CHD) had been recorded as a leading killer since 2007 in public hospitals. "Let us choose health, not tobacco", she added.

Smokeless tobacco: around 6.5% of the global population aged 15 and over use smokeless tobacco (8.4% of males and 4.6% of females).

"Nicotine, a chemical that is found naturally in tobacco, is as addictive as heroin or cocaine and is attributed to stimulating the body to produce adrenaline, causing faster heart rate". But despite its life-threatening and life-causing effect, tobacco use remains one of the severe risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (such as heart disease, heart failure, chest pains/angina and stroke) in Jamaica.

"Exposure to passive smoking for children and adolescents is extremely risky, causing serious respiratory problems such as asthma and increasing their risk of coronary heart disease", he said.

Despite the apparent lack of progress in tackling the total number of smokers, the report highlights that only one in five people smoke today, compared to more than one in four, 18 years ago.

Chennai: "Smoking Kills" is the message that is known to all smokers and non-smokers.

He further said that the government also compromised on tobacco tax this year as well by accommodating the tobacco industry by continuation of the third tier which allows most selling brands with least tax.

According to the WHO Global Report on Tobacco Prevalence Trends 2000-2025, this is more common in low- and middle-income countries, the specialist said. According to him the 2010-2015 anti-smoking project eyed a decrease of 1.2-2 percent in number of smokers across the country every year.

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