DROP: One in four men smoked daily in 2015, compared to one in three men, 25 years ago
Paris: The percentage of men and women who use tobacco every day has dropped in most nations since 1990, but the total number of smokers and tobacco-related deaths has increased, a consortium of researchers reported on Thursday.
Mortality could rise even further as major tobacco companies aggressively target new markets, especially in the developing world, they warned in a major study, published in the medical journal The Lancet.
One in four men and one in 20 women smoked daily in 2015, according to the Global Burden of Diseases report, compiled by hundreds of scientists. That was a significant drop compared to 25 years earlier, when one in three men, and one in 12 women, lit up every day.
But the number of deaths attributed to tobacco — which topped 6.4 million in 2015 — went up by 4.7 per cent over the same period due to the expanding world population, the report found.
“Sadly, all those deaths were preventable,” senior author Emmanuela Gakidou from the University of Washington said.
More than 930 million people smoked daily in 2015, compared to 870 million in 1990 — a seven per cent jump. Smoking causes one in ten deaths worldwide, half of them in just four countries: China, India, the United States and Russia.
Together with Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Japan, Brazil, and Germany, they account for fully two-thirds of global tobacco use.
Some countries have seen sharp reductions in smoking driven by some combination of higher taxes, education campaigns, package warnings and programmes to help people kick the nicotine habit.
Brazil was among the leaders over the 25-year period examined, with the percentage of daily smokers dropping from 29 to 12 per cent among men, and from 19 to eight per cent among women. But Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines — where 47, 38 and 35 per cent of men smoke, respectively — saw no change from 1990 to 2015. “Future mortality in low- and middle-income countries is likely to be huge,” said John Britton from the University of Nottingham’s UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.
Responsibility for the global tobacco epidemic lies mainly with a handful of multinational companies based in rich countries, he said.
The global response — including a 180-nation “tobacco control” treaty inked in 2005 — has focused mostly on users and not the supply, he added.
The WHO has noted that “tobacco is the only legal drug that kills many of its users when used exactly as intended by the manufacturers.”— AFP