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Relevance of Tobacco control in achieving of MDGs

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African Views

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Tobacco use is a major preventable cause of premature death and is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer. It kills nearly six million people a year of whom more than 5 million are users and ex users and more than 600 000 are nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco and this accounts for one in 10 adult deaths.  Nearly 80% of the more than one billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
There is clear evidence that control of addiction will contribute to MDGs achievement, especially for the goals related to health outcomes, and poverty and hunger. Among the eight MDGs, six are related to health, which shows how important the links are between good health and efforts to combat poverty and ensure sustainable development.
In addition, the diseases and deaths that result from tobacco consumption impose great suffering and grief on the close family of the tobacco user, effects which are exacerbated by poverty. Evidence revealed in several countries that the prevalence of tobacco usage is higher among low income population. This puts the problems perpetrated by tobacco use into the development arena, including the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Furthermore, a resolution of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Tobacco Control, adopted in July 2004, recognized the adverse impact of tobacco use not only on health, but also on the society, the economy, and the environment, and on efforts towards poverty alleviation.
 
More information about Dr. Sachs can be obtained on his website: http:// www.drlung.com 

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