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Annual Smoking Death Toll Tops 5 Million Worldwide

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The World Health Organization (WHO) says that at least five million people die from smoking each year, along with another 600,000 who die from secondhand-smoke exposure, the Associated Press reported Dec. 9.

The WHO said that 95 percent of the world's population is unprotected by smokefree-spaces laws, and that less than 10 percent is covered by any one of the six strategies that the agency has endorsed to prevent smoking-related deaths, including smokefree laws, bans on tobacco advertising, and higher taxes on tobacco products.

Agency officials urged governments to adopt the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which includes a slate of prevention measures. Absent more action, the WHO estimated that smoking could claim 8 million lives annually by 2030.

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