Updated on 8 September 2015
Nearly 1.3 million Southeast Asian die of tobacco consumption every year, said the WHO
Singapore: In a shocking revelation the World Health Organization declared that nearly 1.3 million people in Southeast Asia die due to tobacco consumption every year. A senior WHO official said that the region consists of 250 million smokers and nearly the same number of smokeless tobacco users.
Speaking at the inauguration of the WHO's South-East Asia regional committee meeting at Dili, WHO's director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said, "Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths. Worldwide, tobacco use kills nearly six million people annually with over 600,000 deaths due to exposure to second hand smoke."
Following this, the health ministers of the 11 countries have signed an anti-tobacco declaration at the 68th regional meeting, the WHO said, pledging to accelerate measures aimed at reducing tobacco use.
The declaration calls on governments, United Nations agencies and stakeholders to accelerate tobacco control in the region, the inhabitants of which consume over one-third of the world's tobacco.
WHO recommends enhancing awareness on the ill-effects of all types of tobacco products; effective control measures to reduce tobacco consumption and counter-interference of tobacco industry; strengthening taxation systems on tobacco products to reduce consumption, and enhancing surveillance, research and cessation of tobacco use," said Dr Singh.