World No Tobacco Day 2004
The Tobacco Free Initiative proposes that World No Tobacco Day 2004 focus on tobacco and poverty.
The contribution of tobacco to death and disease is well documented. Less attention is given to the ways in which tobacco increases poverty.
Tobacco is the fourth most common risk factor for disease worldwide. The economic costs of tobacco use are equally devastating. In addition to the high public health costs of treating tobacco-caused diseases, tobacco kills people at the height of their productivity, depriving families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy workforce. Tobacco users are also less productive while they are alive due to increased sickness. A 1994 report estimated that the use of tobacco resulted in an annual global net loss of US$ 200 thousand million, a third of this loss being in developing countries.
Why is tobacco a public health priority?
Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. It is currently responsible for the death of one in ten adults' worldwide (about 5 million deaths each year). If current smoking patterns continue, it will cause some 10 million deaths each year by 2025. Half the people that smoke today -that are about 650 million people- will eventually be killed by tobacco.