World No Tobacco Day 2018: Tobacco and Cardiovascular Disease

St. Kitts and Nevis joins the global community in observing “World No Tobacco Day” on Thursday 31st May 2018, which focuses on the impact of tobacco on the cardiovascular (or heart) health of people worldwide. Tobacco use is an important risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. However, despite the devastating harms of tobacco to heart health, and the availability of interventions to reduce tobacco-related death and disease, knowledge among large sections of the public that tobacco is one of the leading causes of CVD is low.

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) are responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other condition. Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 12% of all heart disease-related deaths. Tobacco use is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure.

The global tobacco epidemic kills more than 7 million people each year, of which close to 900,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. Nearly 80% of the more than 1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest. In St. Kitts and Nevis, research has shown that 8.7% of the adult population smoke tobacco, while 6% smoke tobacco on a daily basis. Among our children, 9.2% currently use a tobacco product. Additionally, 13.8% of the children indicated having at least one parent who smokes.