Ira Pastor Comments:
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that we currently have over 1.1 billion smokers on earth, and that tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 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.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.
Smoking leads to disease and disability, and harms nearly every organ of the body. More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, as well as increasing risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, auto- immune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, and erectile dysfunction in males.
Total economic cost of smoking in the U.S. alone is more than $300 billion a year, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Ending Smoking for Good
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds research, promotes innovation, and supports collaborative initiatives committed to reducing deaths and diseases caused by smoking, and is committed to ending smoking this generation.
They strive to identify and address the unique needs of the developing world as they relate to tobacco cessation and harm reduction, and serve as a convener of global research supporting the reduction of tobacco use, while helping to address the impact of decreased smoking rates on agriculture and economies. The Foundation’s work focuses on three core areas: Health, Science, and Technology (HST), Agriculture and Livelihoods, and Industry Transformation.
Dr. Derek Yach
Dr. Derek Yach has been a global health expert and anti-smoking advocate for more than 30 years, and is also a passionate advocate for health promotion and disease prevention.
Dr. Yach is a former World Health Organization (WHO) Cabinet Director and Executive Director for noncommunicable diseases and mental health, where he was deeply involved with the development of the world’s treaty on tobacco control, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). He is also the former Chief Health Officer of the Vitality Group, Executive Director of the Vitality Institute, Senior Vice President of Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo, Director of Global Health at the Rockefeller Foundation, and a Professor of Global Health at Yale University.
He has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed articles on global health and has served on several advisory boards, including the World Economic Forum, Cornerstone Capital, and the Wellcome Trust.
Dr. Yach is a dual citizen of the United States and South Africa. He has an honorary DSc from Georgetown University, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Cape Town, BSc (Epidemiology), University of Stellenbosch, and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Disclosure: The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World has received its initial funding pledge of $80 million USD annually for 12 years, beginning in 2018 from Philip Morris International (PMI). The Foundation has a nonprofit status as a US 501c3 organization, and by law and policy must operate completely independently from PMI, and cannot engage in activities designed to support PMI’s interests. Further, PMI can have no involvement or say in their work.
On this episode we will talk to Dr. Yach about:
His background and how he developed an interest in medicine, public health, and smoking cessation. Philip Morris International’s funding of FSFW. About FSFWs Global State of Smoking Poll, Health, Science, and Technology programs, Agricultural Transformation Initiative and Industry Transformation efforts. Finally, we’ll hear about Dr. Yach’s views on the dangers and health issues related to marijuana smoking.
Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.
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If you liked this interview, be sure to check out our interview with Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic!
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