While cigarette smoking is a known killer, many people don't realise
that smokeless tobacco is linked to more than a quarter of a million
deaths worldwide each year, British researchers report.
The University of York team said its analysis of data from 113
countries and other sources is the first study to assess the
international impact of smokeless tobacco on adults.
"It is possible that these figures are underestimated, and future
studies may reveal that the impact is even bigger. We need a global
effort to try and address and control smokeless tobacco," lead
researcher Kamran Siddiqi, a senior lecturer in epidemiology and public
health at York, said in a university news release.
The researchers estimated that in 2010 alone, smokeless tobacco
caused more than 62,000 deaths due to cancers of the mouth, pharynx and oesophagus, and more than 200,000 deaths from heart disease.
India is a particular hotspot, and accounts for 74 percent of
smokeless tobacco-related disease worldwide, according to the study
published online recently in the journal BMC Medicine.
"We have got no international policy on how to regulate the
production, composition, sale, labeling, packaging and marketing of
smokeless tobacco products," Siddiqi said.
"The international framework to control tobacco doesn't seem to work
to control smokeless tobacco. It doesn't get the same regulation as
cigarettes," he added.
But past efforts to curb cigarette smoking could inform the creation
of policies to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco, Siddiqi concluded.
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