Awareness of the CVD risks associated with tobacco use and secondhand smoke varies greatly worldwide, with low- and middle-income countries being hit hardest by this lack of knowledge, according to data presented at the World Congress of Cardiology.
Results from a report commissioned by the World Heart Federation and written by the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project showed that in France, 97.3% of smokers knew that smoking causes heart disease vs. 54.2% in China. In Germany, 91.7% of smokers knew smoking causes stroke vs. 29.9% in China. When it came to secondhand smoke, 45.3% of smokers in China, 60.9% in Bangladesh and 80% in Mexico knew it causes heart disease.
However, knowledge that smoking causes lung cancer was higher, with awareness ranging from 99.3% of smokers in France to 80.2% in China. Results were similar for knowledge about secondhand smoke causing lung cancer, with 67.5% in China, 67% in Bangladesh and 88.9% in Mexico.
“Our research shows that the risks of tobacco use to lung health are very widely accepted. But we need to attain the same level of knowledge and awareness that tobacco use can cause heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, and secondhand smoke can cause heart attack,” Geoffrey T. Fong, PhD, professor of psychology at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and principal investigator of the ITC Project, said in a press release. “Increasing knowledge of specific health risks will help encourage smokers to quit and help nonsmokers protect themselves, so raising awareness is an important step in reducing people’s exposure to tobacco smoke.”
The ITC Project was designed to measure the effect of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
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Disclosure: Dr. Fong reports no relevant financial disclosures.