Brazzaville- Congo (PANA) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Directo r for Africa , Dr.
Luis Sambo, has called on governments in the region to protec t women from tobacco marketing and smoke.
"I invite all governments to protect women from tobacco marketing and from expos ure to tobacco.
In doing so, governments can help reduce the number of women who fall victim to fatal and debilitating heart attacks, strokes, cancers and respir a tory diseases," Dr.
Sambo said in a message, released here Monday, to commemorat e "World No Tobacco Day (WNTD)", observed worldwide on 31 May.
"Gender and tobacco with emphasis on marketing to women" is the theme of this ye arâ?s WNTD which focuses on the harm which tobacco marketing and smoke can do to women.
It seeks to make men more aware of their responsibility to avoid smoking around the women with whom they live and work.
The Regional Director specifically called for the institution of comprehensive t obacco control policy-making and implementation, saying, "I call upon policy-mak e rs to develop and enforce a comprehensive ban on direct or indirect advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.
A ban on smoking in all public pl a ces, including work places and restaurants, should also be imposed and enforced.
" While appealing to the general public to reject all forms of tobacco advertising , promotion and sponsorship, Dr.
Sambo urged the civil society and the non-gover n mental organizations (NGOs) to educate women and girls on the dangers of tobacco to themselves, families and unborn babies.
The Regional Director singled out male smokers for a special appeal: â?I would like to make a special call to all male smokers to avoid exposing their families and many others to second-hand smoke.
They should realize that their smoking hab i ts pose considerable health hazards to others especially women with whom they li v e or work.
" WHO estimates that of the over five million people who die each year from tobacc o use, approximately 1.
5 million are women.
Unless urgent action is taken, tobacco use could kill more than eight million pe ople each year by 2030, of whom 2.
5 million would be women.
Approximately three-quarters of these female deaths would occur in the low-incom e and middle-income countries that are least able to absorb such losses.