Whatsapp, an ally to quit smoking

The WHO launches a campaign that will challenge 100 million people around the world to try to quit

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a year-long campaign on Tuesday in which it will challenge 100 million people around the world to try to quit smoking with the help of WhatsApp and other digital tools.

The campaign, focused especially on countries that maintain a high number of smokers (USA, Mexico, China, Brazil or Germany, among others) will promote the creation in social networks of communities of people who are quitting the tobacco habit so that they support each other in that challenge and share information. It also seeks to increase access to smoking cessation support services and “raise awareness of the tactics used by tobacco companies,” the WHO said in a statement.

Other multinationals such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, or Johnson & Johnson, among others, participate in the campaign together with WhatsApp.

In the world, some 780 million people say they want to quit smoking, but only 30 percent of them have access to the tools that can help them to achieve it, underlines the WHO, which hopes through this campaign to increase the availability of these tools.

The COVID-19 pandemic, a disease that can be more serious for smokers with chronic respiratory ailments, has increased the number of people interested in quitting this habit, according to the WHO. ” Smoking kills eight million people a year, but if smokers still need more reasons to quit, the pandemic has been a real incentive,” the WHO director-general said at the launch of the campaign. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.