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READ THIS before you light up that next cigarette

Last updated on: April 24, 2012 16:05 IST

READ THIS before you light up that next cigarette

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Half of India's smokers unaware that their habit is one of the major reasons for a stroke.

Half of India's smokers are unaware that smoking causes stroke, a new report has claimed.

According to the report, commissioned by the World Heart Federation and written by the International Tobacco Control Project (ITC Project) in collaboration with the Tobacco Free Initiative at the World Health Organisation, there are significant gaps that need to be filled in public awareness regarding the cardiovascular risks of tobacco use and secondhand smoke.

The report was released at the World Heart Federation World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai recently.

Around 70 per cent of Chinese smokers, 50 per cent of Indian smokers and 40 per cent of Dutch smokers are unaware that smoking causes stroke.

Awareness of the risk of secondhand smoke is even lower. In Vietnam, nearly 90 per cent of smokers and non-smokers are unaware that secondhand smoke causes heart disease.

In China, 57 percent of smokers and non-smokers are unaware of the link, said the report.

Even in countries with well-developed health systems and tobacco control regulation, such as Canada, United Kingdom, United States, and Australia, between a third and a half of smokers do not know that secondhand smoke can damage cardiovascular health.

Prof Geoffrey T Fong at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and Chief Principal Investigator of the ITC Project, said: "This report shows a broad correlation between poor knowledge of the risks of tobacco use and high levels of smoking prevalence. To break this link and reduce the deadly toll of tobacco, more needs to be done to increase awareness of the specific health harms."

"Our research shows that the risks of tobacco use to lung health are very widely accepted. But we need to attain the same level of knowledge and awareness that tobacco use can cause heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease and secondhand smoke can cause heart attack," he added.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world's leading cause of death, killing 17.3 million people every year. Eighty per cent of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, which are increasingly being targeted by the tobacco industry.


Image: Half of India's smokers unaware that their habit is one of the major reasons for a stroke
Photographs: Eliseo Fernandez / Reuters

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