World No Tobacco Day today

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, more than five million of whom are users or ex users. At least 600,000 of these deaths are due to exposure to second-hand smoke.

Though tobacco consumption is decreasing in some high- and upper-middle income countries, it is increasing globally in low- and middle-income countries where the burden of disease is already disproportionately high. Having caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century, current trends project an increase to up to a billion deaths in the 21st.

The good news is that health benefits of quitting smoking can be seen almost immediately and continue exponentially the longer one abstains. Heart rate and blood pressure drop within 20 minutes of quitting, carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal within 12 hours, the risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker after 12 months of abstention, and risks of lung, throat, mouth, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas cancer continue to decrease the longer you do not smoke.

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