Tobacco (58) Q1 Do people understand the health, socio-economic and environmental harms of using tobacco products? (22)

15 March, 2023

Chris Bostic (USA) made a very important point a couple of weeks ago and I would like to explore it further. He said: "We need to update our facts. Nearly everyone in our field still says "smoking kills up to half of its long-term users," but more recent research shows that the key number is 2/3, not half."

How many people know this? How many children and adolescents know this? Of course it is one thing to know a fact, it is another to understand the implications. What can be done to help transform fact into understanding?

And what about updating our facts? The World Health Organization website says 'Tobacco kills up to half of its users' and many organisations will take their lead. If the true number is 2/3, how can this be better communicated?

Whether 1/2 or 2/3, perhaps many people see this as a statistic without applying it to their personal experience.

What approaches are being used in schools to teach about the dangers of smoking?

Best wishes, Neil

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: neil AT