World No Tobacco Day was held on 31 May 2022, and this year's theme was Poisoning our Planet: Tobacco Exposed, which aimed to shed light on the global detrimental impact of tobacco on human health, economies, societies and the environment.
Tobacco use remains a lethal habit, with an estimated 8,000,000 people dying each year due to its use. Tobacco smoking is also an important driver of tuberculosis (TB), accounting for about 730,000 TB episodes in 2020. The risk of developing TB is doubled for people who smoke, as well as for those exposed to second-hand smoke. Furthermore, tobacco smoking slows recovery from TB and is associated with unfavourable treatment outcomes, including recurrence of TB and death. People with TB who smoke tobacco are also more likely to suffer from lung problems, even after successfully completing TB treatment. Efforts to curb the number of people who smoke, and to support people with TB to stop smoking, are seen as crucial in reducing TB-related suffering and deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) End TB Strategy emphasises action on TB and comorbidities, including tobacco smoking. At the 2018 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on the Fight Against Tuberculosis, member states committed to assuring community-based health services that address tobacco use as part of a comprehensive package of TB services, with collaboration between national TB programmes and national tobacco control programmes being critical to scale up WHO-recommended TB and tobacco cessation interventions to meet this commitment. The WHO say integrating smoking cessation interventions within routine TB management is both feasible and effective in reducing smoking rates and for improving treatment outcomes among TB patients.
A people-centred approach, inter-programme and multisectoral collaboration are important to address the detrimental relationship between TB and tobacco, through multipronged strategies, including community health campaigns to reduce the number of people who start smoking and the scale up of efforts to include smoking cessation as part of TB care.
Source: WHO, 31 May 2022