BBC: Smoking damages eyes as well as lungs

2 July, 2019

'Smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight compared with non-smokers... [but] only 1 in 5 people recognise that smoking can lead to blindness.'

This is the finding of a UK survey for the Association of Optometrists.

Comment (NPW): We take it for granted that everyone knows the risks of smoking. Knowledge of such risks is an important factor in deciding to quit (and probably in deciding not to start). The finding that 4 in 5 people are unaware of the link with blindness is not surprising - there is a very long list of diseases that are more common in smokers, and knowledge about some (eg lung cancer) is higher than others. It would be interesting to compare data on knowledge of the health risks of smoking across different countries. If anyone on HIFA could volunteer to find out and let us know, that would be very helpful. You can email any findings direct to HIFA:

Also, it seems likely that people at different stages in life (eg youth versus older people) or in different life situations (eg low-income versus high-income) may react differently in terms of starting/quitting, despite having equivalent knowledge of risks. Again, it would be interesting to know more about this.

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Information for Citizens, Parents and Children:

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: