Tobacco likely to kill 8 million people by 2030

According to the Lancet medical Journal, forty percent of men in developing countries either smoke or use smokeless tobacco.  Tobacco is likely to kill half of its users. There are huge disparities in the rates of smoking between countries and genders. By 2030, if current trends continue, it predicts tobacco could be killing 8 million people a year.

“Although 1.1 billion people have been covered by the adoption of the most effective tobacco-control policies since 2008, 83 percent of the world’s population are not covered by two or more of these policies.


Such measures include –

  • Smoking bans in public places
  • Advertising bans
  • More graphic health warnings
  • Plain packaging

The world’s leading tobacco firms recently lost a legal appeal in Australia where they were appealing the plain packing verdict. The ‘no logo’ laws are in line with WHO. Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Canada and India which are considering similar measures to help fight smoking, are set to follow suit.

Tobacco kills up to half of its users, according to the WHO. Smoking causes lung cancer, which is often fatal, and other chronic respiratory diseases. It is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the world’s number one killers.

Various Indian states have also banned smokeless tobacco products, like gutka and pan masala

Using data from Global Adult Tobacco Surveys (GATS) carried out between 2008 and 2010, Giovino’s team compared patterns of tobacco use and cessation in people aged 15 or older from 14 low- and middle-income countries. They included data from Britain and the United States for comparison.

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They found disproportionately high rates of smoking among men – at an average 41 percent versus 5 percent in women – and wide variation in smoking prevalence between GATS countries, ranging from about 22 percent of men in Brazil to more than 60 percent in Russia.

Rates of female smoking ranged from 0.5 percent in Egypt to almost 25 percent in Poland. Women in Britain and the United States also had high smoking rates, at 21 percent and 16 percent respectively.

The study found that around 64 percent of tobacco users smoke manufactured cigarettes, although loose-leaf chewing tobacco and snuff were particularly common in India and Bangladesh.

With an estimated 301 million tobacco users, China has more than any other country, closely followed by India with almost 275 million. Other countries included in the study were Bangladesh, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam.

The researchers said the rise in tobacco use among young women was of particular concern.

In low income countries, they said, for every $9,100 received in tobacco taxes, only $1 was spent on tobacco control.

The WHO says tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke.

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