Tobacco use kills nearly six million people annually with over 600,000 deaths due to exposure to second hand smoke
By Kavita Bajeli-Datt
Over 1.3 million people die of tobacco consumption in Southeast Asia every year, with the region consisting of 250 million smokers and nearly the same number of smokeless tobacco users, according to a senior official of World Health Organization
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for South-East Asia, said: “We know that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths.”
She was speaking at the inauguration of the WHO’s South-East Asia regional committee meeting here where health ministers and officials of 11 countries are meeting to set health priorities and discuss the health agenda for the region.
“Worldwide, tobacco use kills nearly six million people annually with over 600,000 deaths due to exposure to second hand smoke,” she said at the inauguration, attended by Timor-Leste Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo, who was earlier the country’s health minister.
Timor-Leste became the first new state of the 21st century when it achieved sovereignty on May 20, 2002.
WHO has reiterated several times the number of deaths occuring because of tobacco use in Southeast Asia and other regions.