Support surges for smoking ban in tobacco country

Henrietta Brewer
April 6, 2017

Smoking causes one in ten deaths worldwide, half of them in just four countries: China, India, the United States and Russian Federation. Over seven out of 10 people now support a ban, the Associated Press reports.

And the number of tobacco-related deaths - more than 6.4 million in 2015 - increased by 4.7% over the same period.

Tobacco stocks don't appear to be impacted by the report.

Although the journal lauded India for adopting a large number of tobacco control policies over the last ten years, a little over 11 per cent of the world's smokers are from India.

Deaths attributable to smoking increased by 4.7% in 2015 compared with 2005 and smoking was rated as a bigger burden on health - moving from third to second highest cause of disability.

High smoking prevalence levels and worrying trends persist.

Nearly one billion people smoke every day, including one in four men and one in 20 women - a reduction from one in three men and one in 12 women, respectively, since 1990.

"Despite more than half a century of unequivocal evidence of the harmful effects of tobacco on health, today, one in every four men in the world is a daily smoker". The researchers found 13 countries, including the United States, saw significant annual declines across all 25 years from 1990 to 2015, while 18 countries from Nepal to Chile saw daily smoking drop significantly in the past decade.

The countries with the most female smokers in 2015 were the US (17 million smokers), China (14 million smokers) and India (13.5 million smokers).

The study said the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), is necessary and vital for creating policy environmentfor more effective tobacco control worldwide but in not enoughto fully address each country's tobacco-control needs.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada, killing half of all long-term smokers.

Experts said the latest estimates, based on smoking habits in 195 countries and territories, show need for "renewed and sustained" efforts on control policies.

"Future mortality in low- and middle-income countries is likely to be huge", John Britton from the University of Nottingham's UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies wrote in a comment, also in The Lancet.

Researchers said mortality could rise further as tobacco companies aggressively targeted new markets, especially in the developing world.

The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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