Tobacco control in the Americas: what is needed and what is next?


[Extract] Every year, tobacco use leads to more than eight million deaths globally and one million deaths in the Region of the Americas (1,2). The global economic cost of smoking is estimated to be US$ 1.4 trillion yearly and it disproportionately affects people in low-and middle-income countries (1). The devastating health, social, environmental, and economic consequences of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke ultimately constrain development (3).

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability in the Americas and they account for 81% (or 5.8 million) of deaths per year (4). Tobacco use is a major risk factor underpinning each of the four principal NCDs (5) and leads to 15% of cardiovascular deaths, 24% of cancer deaths, and 45% of deaths from chronic respiratory diseases (2). These severe consequences of tobacco use have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with users having a higher risk of severe disease and death, highlighting the deadly interplay between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and NCDs and their underlying risk factors.[...]

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