Tobacco is a Global Killer

Smoking is a major global health concern

(RxWiki News) It would seem that the dangers associated with tobacco use would be evident all around the world. New research shows that the message isn't as clear in all countries.  

A recent tobacco study estimated there are nearly 1 billion tobacco users in 16 just countries. The number of active smokers suggested stronger regulation of tobacco in low- and middle-income countries could help save lives.

Accessible quit help programs, tobacco education, graphic warning labels and higher taxes on tobacco products could help prevent global health problems. 

"Quit smoking today!"

Gary A. Giovino, PhD, Chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University of Buffalo in New York, and Samira Asma, DDS, Chief of Global Tobacco Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), led the largest international tobacco study to date.

Dr. Giovino said, “Governments around the world need to start giving economic and regulatory advantages to agricultural products that promote health instead of to products like tobacco that kill people.”

“In absence of effective actions, about one billion people worldwide will die prematurely in the next century from tobacco use, and most of those death and the healthcare and economic cost that come with them, will be borne by lower- and middle-income countries.”

Dr. Giovino points out that smoking and quit rates are a reflection of the tobacco industry’s efforts vs. a government’s anti-tobacco regulations. His recommendation, based on his findings, was global tobacco control strategies.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) gathered information from 14 low- and middle-income countries.

Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico, Ukraine, Vietnam and Uruguay provided 248,452 face-to-face surveys from 2008-2010.

Data from previous surveys in the U.S. and UK gave information on 188,895 citizens for comparison. The GATS survey results showed that 49 percent of men and 11 percent of women used tobacco.

An average of 41 percent of men and 5 percent of women smoked their tobacco. The highest rates for men were found in Russia at 60 percent and for women in Poland at 24 percent.

Overall, 82 percent of people preferred manufactured cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco was most common in India and Bangladesh.

The rate of quitting smoking was less than 20 percent in China, India, Russia, Egypt and Bangladesh.

Anti-tobacco policies influenced higher quit smoking ratios in Brazil, Uruguay, the UK and the U.S.

This study will be published in August in The Lancet. Funding was provided by the Bloomber Philanthropies’ Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Brazilian and Indian governments, no conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
August 16, 2012