Global Tobacco Survey Underscores Critical Need to Address Heart Disease and Stroke Worldwide, Says American Heart Association CEO

August 16, 2012 Categories: Advisories & Comments, Advocacy News
Washington, D.C. Aug. 15, 2012 American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown made the following comments today on the new Global Adult Tobacco Survey published in this week’s issue of  The Lancet
 
“This significant survey of global tobacco use is perfectly timed.  Its release, close to the one-year anniversary of the 2011 United Nations high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases, gives the nations studied strong evidence to execute effective strategies against a tobacco epidemic that knows no international boundaries.
 
The survey of 16 countries underscores that inaction is not an option when confronting the marketing practices of the tobacco industry.  As the Global Adult Tobacco Survey results illustrate, tobacco has a commanding grip on 852 million of the world’s citizens.  While the challenge to break this grip for many countries may appear daunting, the survey demonstrates that in countries where comprehensive tobacco control policies have been enacted, premature morbidity and mortality in fact is averted.  
 
The use of tobacco is a major contributing factor to the number one global cause of death —cardiovascular disease.  Heart disease and stroke account for 17.3 million deaths annually, a number that’s likely to grow to 23.6 million by 2030.  As indicated by this survey, the age of initiation for tobacco use is already in the teens for men, and now young women are also starting to smoke or use other tobacco products at the same age.

During last year’s U.N. meeting, a Political Declaration was unanimously signed by Member States.  The declaration identified tobacco control as one of the most urgent priority interventions in the fight against non-communicable diseases. These frightening survey statistics make it even more imperative for nations to boldly target tobacco and make the prevention of cardiovascular diseases a global health priority.”
 
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Contact:  Retha Sherrod, (202) 785-7929
retha.sherrod@heart.org