UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today accused the tobacco industry of “aggressive” opposition to measures to contain tobacco use which he says could kill up to one billion people in the world this century.
In his message on the World No Tobacco Day, Mr. Ban said that the World Day came at a time “when the tobacco industry is taking ever more aggressive steps to undermine efforts to reduce the global menace of tobacco.”
Tobacco kills by causing cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases. It is one of the leading preventable risk factors for non-communicable diseases. Every year, about 5 million people die because they use tobacco. Another 600,000 people die from exposure to second-hand smoke.
“While governments and the international health community try to implement effective measures to contain tobacco use and protect the health of people, their efforts are being aggressively opposed by an industry whose products kill people,” the Secretary-General said in his message.
“If we do not step up our efforts to control it, tobacco could kill up to one billion people this century.” Mr. Ban accuses the tobacco industry of battling against protective measures with “no thought for peoples’ health”.
He praised the success of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, noting that some countries have reduced smoking by up to 25 per cent within only three years from implementing strong tobacco control measures in line with the Framework Convention.
“Let us resist the industry’s attacks and pursue our vision of a tobacco-free world,” Mr. Ban said in his message.
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