Dangers to human health: tobacco, ultra-processed foods, fossil fuels, alcohol

English Section / 14 iunie

Dangers to human health: tobacco, ultra-processed foods, fossil fuels, alcohol

Versiunea în limba română

There are certain things heavily promoted on various channels that are very harmful to people's health. Tobacco, ultra-processed foods, fossil fuels and alcohol, promoted by industry lobbies, are responsible for 2.7 million deaths a year in Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, calling for better regulation in this sense. These "four industries kill, according to WHO Europe director Hans Kluge, at least 7,000 people every day" across the region, which includes 53 countries and extends into Central Asia. "Industry tactics include exploiting vulnerable people through targeted marketing strategies, deceiving consumers and making false claims about their products' benefits or environmental friendliness," Kluge was quoted as saying in a statement. These tactics undermine the fight against non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for four out of ten deaths in Europe. For the WHO, by promoting their products, the giants in the fields of tobacco, food, fossil fuels and alcohol interfere with the efforts to prevent and control some diseases, such as cancer or diabetes. The practices of large groups fuel inequalities and recurrence in cancer, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. These "constitute a major obstacle to prevention policies", lamented the WHO, adding that they "maximize benefits and compromise public health". Overweight and obesity affect almost 60% of adults and almost one in three children on the Old Continent. The most recent data (2017) also show that one in five deaths associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer in Europe can be attributed to unhealthy diet. In order to protect the population, the WHO recommends the application of stricter regulations, especially regarding the marketing of products harmful to health, monopolistic practices, taxation of multinationals and the exploitation of vulnerable populations in times of crisis. "Human beings must always come before profit," Kluge insisted. Globally, tobacco, ultra-processed foods, fossil fuels and alcohol, promoted by industrial lobbies, are responsible for 19 million deaths per year.

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