By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

Air pollution is dubbed as the “new tobacco” by World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He warned that the simple act of breathing polluted air may be killing seven million people a year and harming billions more.

Research revealed that over 90 percent of the world’s population is suffering from toxic air and has profound impacts on the health of people. Children and babies are most at risk because of the link between toxic air and respiratory diseases.

The WHO is working with health professionals to help their patients as well as to give these professionals the skills and evidence to promote health in policy decisions like switching from fossil-fuel-powered energy and transport.

Since the global number of smokers has slowly declined, air pollution causes more deaths annually than tobacco.

Unfortunately, researchers think that ailments like heart attacks and lung diseases brought about by air pollution are only the tip of the iceberg.

The seven million figure of early deaths is said to be an underestimation, as it only includes particle pollution and the five most firmly linked causes of death. Early estimates derived from improved models resulted in a total of nine million deaths from particle pollution.

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