Encouraging widespread use of treatment to overcome tobacco dependence is a primary goal in the crusade to improve public health.
Globally, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) cause more deaths than communicable diseases, maternal, prenatal and nutritional conditions combined. These NCDs have reached epidemic proportions, with the four main types being cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attacks, strokes), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (e.g. chronic obstructed pulmonary disease, asthma), and diabetes.
Most NCDs are strongly associated and causally linked with tobacco use - responsible for almost 6 million deaths every year.
Tobacco causes more premature deaths than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.2 Apart from the the grievous effects of all forms of tobacco, smoking is an important risk factor for communicable diseases like tuberculosis and lower respiratory infections.
Behavioural counselling is a key component of treatment for tobacco use and dependence. People need to be informed and educated about methods of tobacco treatment, and the corresponding reduction in risk for disease and premature death. Although the health benefits are greater for people who quit using tobacco at an earlier age, the benefits of tobacco treatment at all ages needs to be promoted. Encouraging widespread use of treatment to overcome tobacco dependence is a primary goal in the crusade to improve public health.
1Global status report on non-communicable diseases, WHO, 2010
2The Tobacco Atlas, 4th Edition. Eriksen, Mackay, and Ross (eds), 2012, American Cancer Society
3Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS): India, WHO, 2009-2010
4Health Workers Guide, National Tobacco Control Programme, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, 2010