News Thursday June 26, 2014

WHO: cutting smoking would halve US heart deaths

A report, published by the World Health Organisation, claims that deaths from coronary heart disease could be halved if one in two American smokers quit smoking.

In the report, which was released on Monday, the WHO stated that 400,000 Americans die each year from heart disease. Smoking, obesity and high cholesterol are largely to blame for such a high figure.

However, the situation is not hopeless. Smoking has been on the decline in America for decades. Statistics show that at present, a quarter of the population smoke. If this could be cut to 12% the WHO say heart disease deaths would be halved. The health body also recommends that we make small lifestyle changes to reduce the chances of heart disease. This includes smoking cessation, overcoming obesity and improving exercise levels.

meanwhile, some argue the US government should increase smoking taxation. The group, Cancer Action Research, has proposed adding $1 to each cigarette pack. This would raise $9 billion each year. A poll found that 60% of Americans would be in favour of this. Not only would the tax reduce smoking levels, but would also boost the country’s fragile economy.

UK wants to half smoking

In Britain there have also been recent calls to halve smoking. The British government plans to abolish branding on cigarette packets and to ban vending machines. Moves may also be made to extend the smoking ban. This could mean smoking in front of certain buildings is no longer allowed. This may be controversial but it could greatly increase smoking cessation. Smoking costs the NHS £2.7 billion each year and is the main cause of coronary heart disease: the UK’s biggest killer.

As smoking cessation efforts around the world continue, there is hope that the habit will gradually become less prevalent. If you are a smoker and want to quit, help is at hand. Professional advice from a doctor or medical practitioner is the first step. Some people find that smoking cessation books are useful. Others find nicotine patches or medication can path the way becoming a non-smoker.

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