World No Tobacco Day: Smoking costs UK £2 billion a year
According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), around 10 million adults in Great Britain smoke cigarettes, and two thirds of smokers start before the age of 18.
Further to this, NHS spends around £2 billion a year in treating diseases that are associated with smoking. Every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hosts World No Tobacco Day to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use, not only in the UK but around the world.
The WHO estimates that if global tobacco consumption is not immediately and swiftly reduced, the annual death toll could rise to eight million by 2030.
Director of the Respiratory Division at The George Institute for Global Health Australia, Professor Christine Jenkins, has said that the prolific amount of smokers creates a huge burden for the health system.
“Smoking remains one of the biggest preventable global health threats for the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD’s).
“In Australia as our life expectancy increases, people live longer but disability and deaths due to tobacco related disease will remain very significant in over 60 year olds, due especially to lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These risks are increased in smokers and ex-smokers as they age.”
COPD is the fourth most common cause of death worldwide, mostly due to cigarette smoking. If current trends continue, COPD is likely to become one of the top three common causes of death by 2020.
The George Institute for Global Health, China, is currently conducting research looking at a novel combination of two affordable oral medications, each given at low doses, to reduce adverse effects and enhance efficacy of treatments.
“The study is about trying to find affordable therapies to control symptoms of COPD, and reduce exacerbations that often result in hospitalisations or death.
“However, the best course of treatment is prevention. Not taking up smoking and avoiding second hand smoke greatly reduces your chances of developing COPD.”
To find out more about the harmful effects of tobacco, follow the link.