STAFF REPORTER MORE than 55'000 people die every year in Spain as a direct or indirect result of smoking, around 1'000 of them in the Balearics. With these shocking figures in mind, some 50 civil and health service related organisations have joined forces in the Islands in an anti-smoking campaign planned for the end of the month to coincide with “International No-smoking Day.” An information tent has already been set up in Plaza Espanya in Palma and it was visited yesterday by regional Health Minister, Vicenç Thomas. In his presentation of the campaign which has as its slogan - “For a Smoke-Free World” - the Minister said that it is statistically proven that smoking is the largest single cause of unnecessary, and preventable, deaths in the country. He said that it is responsible for 29 different types of disease including malignant tumours and cardiovascular problems.

Thomas said that apart from smokers who die as a direct result of the habit, those who smoke can expect to live 20 years less than those who don't. For every 1'000 deaths in Spain, said Thomas, 142 are due to smoking, 20 to traffic accidents, two to AIDS and one to drug addiction.