The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday slammed the tobacco industry for spreading untruths about smoking in public places in a bid to counter an increasing number of smoking bans around the world.
The WHO said the tobacco industry has repeatedly "misled and
misinformed the public about the health risks and dangers of
second-hand tobacco smoke and about the economic impact of smoking
"We all know that smoking kills," Shigeru Omi, director of the
WHO's Western Pacific regional office, which is based in Manila,
said in a statement ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
2nd-hand smoke kills
"What is less well known is that hundreds of thousands of people
who have never smoked, die each year from diseases caused by
breathing smoke from other people's cigarettes," he added.
solution is simple: 100% smoke-free environments."
"What isn't so simple, is overcoming tobacco industry untruths
about smoke-free policies," he lamented.
With "Smoke-Free Environments" as the theme of World No Tobacco
Day, Omi urged leaders to protect people from second-hand tobacco
smoke by passing and enforcing laws requiring smoking bans in all
indoor and public places.
He warned that second-hand smoke causes cancer, acute and
chronic heart disease and has been linked to bronchitis, pneumonia
and asthma. In children, it is linked to lower respiratory
infections, asthma, middle-ear infections and sudden infant death
The WHO also cited a 2004 study that found that as many women in
China died from second-hand smoke exposure as from
Research has also shown that 100% smoke-free
environments are good for business, cost little and prevent people
from taking up smoking.
Industry perpetuates myths
"Despite this evidence, the tobacco industry continues to
perpetuate myths that ventilation systems can protect non-smokers
from second-hand smoke exposure, that smoke-free policies hurt
business or that smoking bans infringe on a smoker's rights and
freedom of choice," the WHO said.
It noted that not a single study has proved that smoking bans
result in negative results for the economy. – (Sapa-dpa)
Stop smoking Centre