COPD predicted to be third leading cause of death in 2030

20 May 2008 -- The global scenario of diseases is shifting from infectious diseases to noncommunicable diseases, with chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) now being the chief causes of death globally, according to a new WHO report published today.

World health statistics 2008 is based on data collected from WHO's 193 Member States. This annual report is the most authoritative reference for a set of 73 health indicators in countries around the world. These are the best available data and they are essential for painting the global picture of health and how it is changing.

According to new estimates for 2030, COPD is predicted to become the third leading cause of death. "Much of the increase in COPD is associated with projected increases in tobacco use and the exposure to smoke from the combustion of solid fuels indoors, for heating and cooking", says Dr Cruz, Medical officer for the Chronic Respiratory Diseases group in WHO. "Tobacco use is highly prevalent in many countries, especially in low-and middle-income countries. Smoking cigarretes from adolescence to adulthood costs on average 10 years of life."

WHO recommends five policies for controlling tobacco use: smoke-free environments, support programmes for tobacco users who wish to stop; healthy warnings on tobacco packs; bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco; and higher taxation of tobacco.

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