"Two fifths of men in developing countries still smoke or use tobacco, and women are increasingly starting to smoke at younger ages, according to a large international study which found 'alarming patterns' of tobacco use," Reuters reports (Kelland, 8/17). The study, published Friday in the Lancet, "covered enough representative samples to estimate tobacco use among three billion people" and "'demonstrates an urgent need for policy change in low- and middle-income countries,' said lead researcher Gary Giovino," according to CNN (Levs, 8/17). "'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,' said [Giovino]," Reuters adds (8/17).
"The data trawl covered a survey of tobacco habits among people aged over 15 in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam, as well as Britain, Poland, Russia and the United States, from 2008 to 2010," Agence France-Presse writes, adding, "On current trends, as many as a billion people could die prematurely from tobacco use during this century, the study said, citing estimates by World Health Organization (WHO) experts" (8/16). In a statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, president Matthew Myers writes, "This study demonstrates how quickly the burden of tobacco use is moving to low- and middle-income countries and is a wake-up call for these countries to act now and address a crisis they can ill afford" (8/16).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.