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WHO offers tobacco users 100 reasons to quit

January / February 2021 | Volume 20 Number 1

Person interacts with a digital health worker on a laptop screen.
Image courtesy of the WHO

WHO’s tobacco cessation campaign includes Florence, a
digital health worker, who is available 24/7 to answer
questions and direct users to resources.

The WHO has launched a year-long “Commit to Quit” campaign to encourage the 780 million people world-wide who say they would like to stop using tobacco. The effort is intended to help create healthier environments that are conducive to quitting tobacco by advocating for strong tobacco cessation policies, increasing access to cessation services, raising awareness of tobacco industry tactics and empowering tobacco users to make successful quit attempts through “quit and win” initiatives.

Quitting tobacco is challenging, especially with the added social and economic stresses that have come as a result of the pandemic, the WHO noted. “Smoking kills 8 million people a year, but if users need more motivation to kick the habit, the pandemic provides the right incentive,” said WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

WHO released a scientific brief recently showing that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19. Tobacco is also a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes.

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