1.3m people die annually from second hand smoke – WHO 

The Regional Director of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has said an estimated 1.3 million people die from second-hand smoke every year. 

She made this known in her message to commemorate 2024 World No Tobacco Day at the 77th World Health Assembly. She stated the necessity of global solidarity in tobacco control efforts.

Dr Moeti added that this day provides the world opportunity to continue highlighting the dangers associated with tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

This year’s theme, “Protecting children from tobacco industry interference” is aimed at mobilising international efforts to shield young people from harmful tobacco and nicotine products and the deceptive strategies often used by the tobacco industry to market their products. 

She  stated that young people across the world have a platform to call out for the tobacco industry to stop targeting them with products that are harmful to their health.

“Globally, more than 37 million young people aged between 13 and 15 years are using tobacco.

“In the African Region, tobacco use among young people aged 13 to 15 years is at 11.1% for boys and 7.2% for girls, which is about 7 million tobacco users.”

Dr Moeti stated that we reflect on our progress in tobacco control while recognising the challenges in our efforts to stop the tactics employed by the tobacco industry to frustrate tobacco control efforts. 

“Tobacco use is declining in 150 countries, and there are now 19 million fewer smokers globally than there were two years ago.”

WHO said people exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke are at risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancers.