Manila, May 31 (IANS): The World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday said that Asian governments should pass and implement laws that will prevent premature deaths from tobacco-related diseases, Xinhua reported.
In China, smoking accounts for about one million deaths per year. In South Korea, the total socio-economic cost of smoking in 2007 was estimated to have reached $6.1 billion.
In a statement issued on World No Tobacco Day, senior WHO official Shin Young-soo said such laws are crucial given that smoking has put 900 million people in the region at risk for tobacco-related illness.
"In our region, it is estimated that close to half of all men smoke and half of all women and children are regularly exposed to the deadly toxins of second-hand smoke at home and in public places," he said.
Of the World Health Organisation's six regions, the Western Pacific Region has the biggest number of smokers.
Shin said the socio-economic cost of tobacco use in the region is a "reason for alarm".