26 August 2009

Tobacco to kill 6 million in 2010

Tobacco use will kill 6 million people next year from cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a range of other ills, global cancer experts said in a report.

Tobacco use will kill 6 million people next year from cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a range of other ills, global cancer experts said in a report.

The new Tobacco Atlas from the World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society estimates that tobacco use costs the global economy $500 billion a year in direct medical expenses, lost productivity and environmental harm.

"Tobacco's total economic costs reduce national wealth in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 3.6%," the report reads.

"Tobacco accounts for one out of every 10 deaths worldwide and will claim 5.5 million lives this year alone," the report said. If current trends hold, by 2020, the number will grow to an estimated 7 million and top 8 million by 2030.

FDA launches tobacco centre
The US Food and Drug Administration on launched a tobacco centre to oversee cigarettes and other related products, after winning the power to do so from Congress in June. It also set up a committee of advisers to help guide it.

Over the past four decades, smoking rates have declined in rich countries like the United States, Britain and Japan while rising in much of the developing world, according to the non-profit research and advocacy organisations.

Some other findings from the report, available at

  • 1 billion men smoke - 35% of men in rich countries and 50% of men in developing countries.
  • About 250 million women smoke daily - 22% of women in developed countries and 9% of women in developing countries.
  • Smoking rates among women are either stable or increasing in several southern, central and eastern European countries.
  • The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 23 times higher for men who smoke than for non-smokers and 13 times higher for women smokers.
  • Tobacco kills one-third to one-half of those who smoke. Smokers die an average of 15 years earlier than non-smokers.
  • Nearly 60% of Chinese men smoke and China consumes more than 37% of the world's cigarettes.
  • 50 million Chinese children, mostly boys, will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.
  • Tobacco use will eventually kill 250 million of today's teenagers and children.
  • Nearly one-quarter of young people who smoke tried their first cigarette before the age of 10.
  • Occupational exposure to second-hand smoke kills 200 000 workers every year.

"One hundred million people were killed by tobacco in the 20th century. Unless effective measures are implemented to prevent young people from smoking and to help current smokers quit, tobacco will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century," the report predicts.

China by far leads the world in cigarette production followed by the United States, Russia and Japan. – (Reuters Health, August 2009)

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