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An official statement issued on Thursday said that according to a new World Health Organization report tobacco use had declined since 2000, but the reduction was insufficient to meet globally agreed targets aimed at protecting people from death, cardiovascular diseases and other NCDs.

Of the over 7 million tobacco-related deaths annually, about 3 million are from heart diseases and stroke, and close to 900,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.

The regional Director observed that although concrete actions and measures exist to stem the tide of tobacco related diseases, more needs to be done to further raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use. In many countries, this low awareness is substantial; for example in China, over 60% of the population is unaware smoking can cause heart attacks, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

Exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco use are the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and are linked to some three million deaths per year. The report also shows that the target of a 30% reduction in tobacco use by 2025 among people aged 15 and older is not on track to being met at the global level, with the current pace of decline indicating only a 22% reduction by that time.

PMNZ General Manager, James Williams, said: "It is clear that despite the well-known health risks associated with smoking, numerous 600,000 men and women in New Zealand who smoke will continue to do so".

Jan Odhano said that the government is responsible for protecting people's health from tobacco exposure and for this goal it has to strictly enforce the tobacco control laws in Pakistan to restrict access to tobacco.

This year's campaign focuses on the important link between tobacco and heart disease with the theme: "Tobacco Breaks Heart: Choose Health Not Tobacco".

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Present and future generations must be urgently protected from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

China has the highest number: of its population of 1.3 billion, about 315 million are smokers and they consume more than a third of the world's cigarettes, the WHO said in a report a year ago.

An average of 27 people die every week in the UAE due to tobacco related diseases. For females, 11% smoked in 2000, compared to 6% in 2015. Around 80 percent of the smokers globally belong to low and middle income countries.

"The data show what we have anecdotally known for decades- that many smokers have the desire to quit, but not the means to match it", said Derek Yach, President of Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

"What we have done in terms of our overall policy is we've made some revisions to it recently", he adds.

The Charity noted that: "e-cigarettes are nearly certainly far safer than smoking, as they do not contain tobacco".


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