New WHO Campaign to Help COVID-era Quitters Kick the Habit

Source
World Health Organization

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, announced the start of a year-long global campaign to help people quit tobacco, with millions citing the threat of COVID-19 as a new incentive to give up the habit.  

Tobacco kills up to half of its users, claiming more than 8 million lives each year. Over 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke, according to WHO

Smoking is also a known risk factor for many respiratory illnesses, and smokers are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes – making them particularly vulnerable to severe COVID-19.  

WHO’s “Commit to Quit” campaign will advocate for stronger national policies, increasing access to cessation services, raising awareness of tobacco industry tactics, and empowering tobacco users to make successful attempts through “quit and win” initiatives.

In one of its first campaign initiatives, the UN health agency rolled out the “WHO Quit Challenge” on the messaging service WhatsApp, and a list of “more than 100 reasons to quit tobacco”. 

The campaign will focus on twenty-two high-burden countries, where the majority of the world’s tobacco users live.