Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed on Friday that Maldives spends MVR 1.6 billion on tobacco products on a yearly basis.
According to the report released by HPA on World No Tobacco Day an average 462 million cigarettes are imported into Maldives annually. Furthermore, it affirmed that the amount of tobacco products used is at concerning levels.
In Maldives, 84 percent of yearly deaths are caused by diseases that are not contagious. Aasandha statistics revealed that the most prevalent six diseases are all smoking related, including lung diseases.
The most recent 2016-2017 Demographic Health Survey showed that 42.4 percent of males and 2.7 percent of females between the age of 15-49 indulge in smoking. Moreover, the 'Global School-based Student Health Survey' conducted on students between ages 13-17 in 2014 revealed that a total 12.3 percent of students smoke.
A total of 17.5 percent of male students, and 6.8 percent of female students smoke.
The report confirmed that the amount of underage smoking is increasing.
"Accordingly, one of the biggest challenges to general health that is recognised, and a habit that health institutions give special attention to and is working to control, is smoking"
Smoking leads to a 22 percent increase in the chances of lung cancer. Secondhand smoke increases the likelihood of lung cancer to nonsmokers by 30 percent. The HPA report identified that smoking results in the premature deaths by diseases such as lung cancer and the incurable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
While the use of tobacco products result in one in every five people contracting such lung diseases, smoking at a young age increases the likelihood of diseases.
Statistics around the world show that a person dies every four seconds due to smoking, a total of 8 million people die annually because of the habit including 1 million secondhand nonsmokers.