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Experts consider the number of deaths from tobacco use
Smoking is extremely unhealthy and can have life-threatening consequences for human health. Nevertheless, there are still far too many people who consume tobacco every day. Researchers have now found that smoking causes one in ten deaths worldwide.
An international team of researchers determined in the data evaluation based on the so-called Global Burden of Diseases report that one in ten deaths worldwide can be attributed to smoking. Half of all deaths found occurred in only four countries. These included China, India, the United States and Russia. The experts published the results of their study in the medical journal "The Lancet".
Tobacco companies are increasingly focusing on new markets
Despite decades of tobacco control policies, population growth has led to an increased number of smokers, doctors say. Mortality from tobacco use will continue to increase because tobacco companies are aggressively targeting new markets, especially in developing countries, the researchers warn.
Population growth leads to more smokers
The proportion of people who smoke has declined in many countries around the world. This is due to the fact that there is a pronounced anti-smoking policy in the respective countries. But of course there are also countries in the world that have not seen any decline, say the scientists. All in all, one could assume that there are fewer and fewer smokers in the world. Unfortunately, this assumption is wrong. As the population grows, the number of smokers worldwide increases, even with a decreasing proportion of smokers, the authors add.
Every fourth man worldwide is a smoker
After more than half a century of research and clear evidence of the harmful effects of tobacco on health, around every fourth man in the world remains a smoker to this day, explains the study author Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou.
Smoking is the second largest risk factor for premature death
Smoking remains the second largest risk factor for premature death and disability. To reduce the effects, tobacco control must be intensified, according to the scientists. The researchers say that smoking prevalence and the associated burden can be reduced.
Researchers are studying smoking habits in 195 countries around the world
The current Global Burden of Diseases report recorded smoking habits in 195 countries and regions between 1990 and 2015. It found that nearly a billion people smoked every day in 2015, the researchers report. One in four men and one in twenty women smoked.
Observe an increase in tobacco deaths over 25 years
In 1990, the figure was one in three men and one in twelve women. Around 870 million people used to smoke cigarettes every day. In comparison, the value was 933 million in 2015, the experts explain. Population growth leads to an increase in the total number of smokers. Tobacco smoking-related deaths rose to more than 6.4 million in 2015. This was an increase of 4.7 percent compared to 1990, the scientists further explain.
How do countries manage to reduce the number of smokers?
The study also found that some countries have been successful in preventing people from smoking. This was due to a combination of higher taxes, tobacco and cigarette warnings, and educational programs, the experts say. Brazil is a good example. Over the course of 25 years, this country has managed to reduce the percentage of male smokers from 29 percent to 12 percent. In the same period, the number of women smoking decreased from 19 percent to eight percent, the doctors say.
Smoking is increasing rapidly in some countries around the world
A counterexample to the successful efforts were countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines. There were no positive changes in these countries between 1990 and 2015, the scientists explain. In Russia, the proportion of women smoking increased over the same period by as much as four percent. Similar trends have unfortunately also been observed in many parts of Africa, the authors add. The tobacco industry is expanding in such countries. One reason for this is the state regulations. To put it mildly, these are extremely incomplete, explain the doctors. In these mostly poor countries, there is often a lack of funds to fight the marketing of tobacco. You could say that smoking is moving from rich countries to low- and middle-income countries, the experts report.
Germany is one of the countries with the most smokers
What about the number of smokers in Germany? Around one in four adults in Germany smoke. Around 30 percent of men are smokers and around 20 percent of women smoke regularly, the experts say. Over the past 25 years, the average male smoker has decreased by about 0.9 percent. In contrast, there was only a decline of 0.3 percent in women. There are a total of around 16.3 million smokers in Germany. Germany is among the ten countries with the most smokers.
What makes the reduction of smokers difficult in Germany?
According to the researchers, the unfavorable data for smoking in Germany are relatively easy to explain. Germany is doing relatively little to prevent tobacco consumption. For example, Germany remains the only country in Europe where outside tobacco advertising is still allowed. (as)