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The World Heart Federation and World Health Organization hosted a Special Session at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health on Friday, which focused on the important link between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and tobacco and highlighted World No Tobacco Day 2018 as a key opportunity for the CVD community to boost its advocacy efforts on tobacco control.
Cardiovascular disease kills more people than any other cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 12% of all heart disease deaths. Tobacco use is also the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure. Despite the known harms of tobacco to heart health, and the availability of solutions to reduce related death and disease, knowledge among large sections of the public that tobacco is one of the leading causes of CVD is low.
The panel session was chaired by WHF CEO Jean-Luc Eiselé and Dutch Heart Foundation CEO Floris Italianer, and featured a range of expert speakers from different parts of the world. WHF Board Member Dr Vash Mungal-Singh spoke on the World Heart Federation’s work with tobacco, including the WHF Roadmap on Tobacco Control. Floris Italianer discussed the role of foundations and patient associations in influencing public and private sectors. Director for the Centre for Primary Care Research Fastone Goma argued that the cardiovascular community can and should be at the forefront of smoking cessation. Technical Advisor at the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa Kellen N Nyamurungi spoke about the importance of building alliances with other groups and communities in Africa.
Finally, WHO medical officer for the Department for Prevention of NCDs Kerstin Schotte discussed plans for World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, which will focus on the important link between tobacco and heart disease. The campaign aims to increase awareness on the link between tobacco and CVD and promote feasible actions and measures that governments and the public can take to reduce the risks to heart health posed by tobacco. World No Tobacco Day 2018 will also be an opportunity to bolster commitment and empower the cardiovascular community in the fight against tobacco.
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