BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia, has revealed that 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease every year.
The report was released ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September every year.
The report warned that one in five of all deaths from heart disease is tobacco induced while urging all tobacco users to quit and avoid a heart attack.
The report’s authors stressed that smokers are more likely to experience an acute cardiovascular event at a younger age than non-smokers.
“Just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease. But if tobacco users take immediate action and quit, then their risk of heart disease will decrease by 50 per cent after one year of not smoking.
“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,” said Dr Eduardo Bianco, Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group.
The brief also showed that smokeless tobacco is responsible for around 200 000 deaths from coronary heart disease per year. E-cigarettes also raise blood pressure increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It, however, explained that high blood pressure and heart disease increase the risk of severe COVID-19.
“Governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their people and help reverse the tobacco epidemic. Making our communities smoke-free reduces the number of tobacco-related hospital admissions, which is more important than ever in the context of the current pandemic,” said Dr Vinayak Prasad, Unit Lead of the WHO No Tobacco Unit.