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Smoking causes 10% of deaths worldwide; even more in China

A recent study published in The Lancet medical journal found that smoking causes one in ten deaths worldwide. The study also found that half of these smoking-related deaths occur in just four countries: China, India, Russia and the United States.
WebMD smoking time bomb

Smoking: the second leading cause of death

According to the study, entitled “Smoking prevalence and attributable disease burden in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015,” smoking was the second leading risk factor for early death and disability worldwide in 2015. The number of tobacco-related deaths exceeded 6.4 million in 2015, representing an increase of 4.7% over the previous year.

Smoking “has claimed more than 5 million lives every year since 1990, and its contribution to overall disease burden is growing, especially in lower income countries. The negative effects of smoking extend well beyond individual and population health as billions of dollars in lost productivity and health-care expenditure are related to smoking every year.”

The Global Burden of Diseases report was based on smoking habits in 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2015.

Number of smokers increasing

Despite decades of tobacco control policies, global population growth has seen an increase in the total number of smokers, with nearly one billion people smoking daily in 2015.

China remains one of the three leading countries (along with India and Indonesia) in total number of male smokers, accounted for 51.4% of the world’s male smokers in 2015. China also remains one of the three leading countries (along with India and the United States) in total number of female smokers, although these three countries accounted for only 27.3% of the world’s female smokers, indicating that the tobacco epidemic is less geographically concentrated for women than for men.

Efforts to combat smoking

The study found some countries had succeeded in efforts to help people quit, mostly through a combination of higher taxes, warnings on packages and education programs. However the report predicts that smoking-related mortality could rise further as tobacco companies aggressively target new markets, especially in the developing world.

China was among 13 countries that recorded significant annualized rates of decline in smokers both between 1990 and 2005 and 2005 and 2015, indicating at least some sustained progress in tobacco control.

3 Responses to “Smoking causes 10% of deaths worldwide; even more in China”

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