LONDON - Tobacco will kill nearly six million people this year, including 600,000 non-smokers, because governments are not doing enough to persuade people to quit or protect others from second-hand smoke, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Since there is often a lag of many years between when people start smoking and when it affects health, the epidemic of tobacco-related disease and death has just begun, the WHO said. But by 2030, the annual death toll could reach 8 million.
The United Nations health body urged more governments to sign up to and implement its tobacco control treaty, warning that if current trends persist, tobacco could cause up to a billion deaths in the 21st century, a dramatic rise from the 100 million deaths it caused in the previous century.
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