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Coronary heart disease deaths and tobacco: The link you need to know

World No Tobacco Day concept. Fourteen percent of Indian adults use smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes on a daily basis.Fourteen percent of Indian adults use smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes on a daily basis. Raising tobacco tax has been suggested as a means of reducing rates of tobacco use.

Tobacco is responsible for more than twenty percent of coronary heart disease deaths, according to new findings from the World Health Organization (WHO). 

In a statement on the basis of a report examining this link, issued jointly by the WHO, the World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle, Australia in advance of World Heart Day on September 29th, we are cautioned that “about 1.9 million avoidable deaths from…CHD per year (approximately 21 percent of all CHD deaths globally) are attributable to tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke. This equates to one in five of all deaths from heart disease, warn the report’s authors, who urge all tobacco users to quit and avoid a heart attack, stressing that smokers  are more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than non-smokers.”

Dr Eduardo Bianco, Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group, warns that “given the current level of evidence on tobacco and cardiovascular health and the health benefits of quitting smoking, failing to offer cessation services to patients with heart disease could be considered clinical malpractice or negligence. Cardiology societies should train their members in smoking cessation, as well as to promote and even drive tobacco control advocacy efforts.” 

For India, the risks are palpable. Heart disease in 2016 accounted for more than 28 percent of all deaths in India in 2016 – a proportion higher than any other medical cause. Heart disease in the country, meanwhile, is on the rise – last year, the country recorded a fifty percent increase in heart disease cases in the preceding 25 years.

Tobacco use, meanwhile, remains a scourge. One person in India loses their lives as a result of tobacco use every eight seconds. 

When COVID-19 is gutting economies, communities, and families, we cannot afford for respiratory illnesses to take shape among them due to other causes. Raising awareness of the damage tobacco use inflicts is vital. The latest from the WHO and its partners in this report concerning coronary heart disease deaths is a much-needed step in this direction. 

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