MEXICO CITY – President Felipe Calderon urged Mexicans to stop smoking, a habit that kills about 60,000 people each year in the country.
"The number of people affected by tobacco reaches 25 million Mexicans, or nearly a quarter of the national population, and it is a huge problem that we must deal with today," Calderon said at an event on Tuesday, which was World No Tobacco Day.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death around the world, Calderon said.
"Women, men, young people especially, with everything to look forward to, are losing and wasting their health, losing opportunities and hope, and consuming their futures because of this habit," the president said.
Cigarette smoke contains 4,000 toxic substances, of which 60 are carcinogenic, and the harm is not limited to the smoker, non-smokers who are nearby breathe the smoke, becoming the "true innocent victims of this epidemic," Calderon said.
The habit is acquired at an early age due to imitation of others and the need for social acceptance, the president said.
The government has launched a number of campaigns to try to keep young people from becoming smokers, Calderon said.
Smoking cuts life expectancies, reduces productivity and sentences millions to suffer through terrible diseases, "undergoing painful, difficult and costly medical treatments," the president said.
"Smoking kills," Calderon said.