Havana, May 17 (Prensa Latina) Smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death, and accounts for 12 percent of the annual mortality rate, Elba Lorenzo, head of the Cuban tobacco control and prevention program, said Tuesday.
Known as a habit, when it is actually an addiction, the consumption of cigars and cigarettes is associated with 90 percent of deaths from lung cancer, and 33 percent of other malignant tumors, as well as ischemic heart disease, bronchitis and enphysema.
But the risk does not only affect smokers; secondhand smoke also sickens and kills those who do not smoke, which is why one of every five deaths is attributed to passive smoking, the expert said at a press conference leading up to World No-Tobacco Day on May 31.
A large percent of the Cuban population is exposed to secondhand smoke, and various international studies show its disastrous consequences for health in the medium and long term, she added.
The vulnerability of children to this problem is of particular interest because it causes infections and asthma and substantially increases the likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome, she said.
Cuba has a national program for prevention and control of smoking, aimed at reducing the prevalence of addiction in the population, the initiation of smoking among minors under the age of 20, and per capita consumption, among other actions.
Leading up to May 31, educational and participatory activities will be held around the country, along with spaces for reflection, contests, declaration of smoke-free areas and scientific meetings,