Over 16,000 deaths caused by tobacco each year in AGCC countries

ABU DHABI - The Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC) states spend Dh3 billion per annum on tobacco products.

By Nada S.mussallam

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Published: Sat 28 Aug 2004, 10:03 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:22 PM

The death toll resulting from consumption of tobacco and its products in the member countries was estimated at 16,470 deaths annually, according to a report prepared by the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) affiliated to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Statistics on mortality rate at daily basis showed that 45 deaths per day occur among smokers in the AGCC countries, said the report.

“Tobacco consumption in the Gulf and East Mediterranean region has witnessed a remarkable increase, whereby tobacco consumption amounted to 24 per cent between 1990 and 1997,” said the report. It said the governments in the AGCC countries have allocated a considerable budget for national anti-tobacco initiatives and programmes, in addition to other activities like conducting scientific research that focus on confronting promotion campaigns of tobacco companies.

The AGCC’s health ministers have recommended that imposing a hike on tobacco products was one of the most effective factor in fighting smoking and detering its impact on the society, said the report. They also proposed that customs tariff on tobacco products, should be increased by 200 per cent. The report anticipated that by 2030, tobacco will be the leading cause of mortality worldwide reaping the life of nearly 10 million persons annually, a figure which exceeds deaths caused by tuberculosis, delivery complications and diarrhetic diseases. “Tobacco endangers the life of millions, as 650 million living persons are expected to die due to tobacco consumption. Now smoking was diagnosed as the main factor for killing 1:10 adults,” said the report. It said there are 1.3 billion smokers around the globe, and the number is anticipated to rise to more than 1.7 billion by 2025. Developing countries witness a rise in the number of smokers since 1970s.

Meanwhile, the number of smokers in industrialised countries, decreased as tobacco consumption in the US declined from 55 per cent to 25 per cent during the same period, said the report.

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