Tobacco caused almost eight million deaths in 2019, when the number of smokers rose to 1.1 billion globally, according to A study Posted this Thursday by The Lancet Y The Lancet Public Health.
The researchers, who analyzed 3,625 reports from 204 countries under the auspices of the collaborative program called Global burden of disease, found that 90% of new smokers become addicts before the age of 25.
Preventing access to tobacco by young people would be an effective measure to reduce addiction in future generations, say the experts, who recognize that the tobacco industry interference it is one of the main factors preventing ending this health “epidemic”.
According to the study, released on the eve of No Tobacco Day, on May 31, one in five male deaths It is caused by tobacco, which causes cardiovascular, pulmonary and tracheal diseases, among others.
The authors note that, although the prevalence of smoking has generally decreased since 1990 (by 27.5% for men and 37.7% for women), in a score of countries vice has increased significantly among men and in twelve, among women.
In half of the States examined, the decline in prevalence has not kept pace with population growth, resulting in a increase in the absolute number of smokers.
Consumption by country
The ten countries with the most tobacco users in 2019, comprising almost two-thirds of the world’s smoking population, are China (with 341 million), India, Indonesia, the United States, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The places with highest consumption per person is located mainly in Europe, points out the report, which adds that, in 2019, about 155 million smokers between 15 and 24 years old were registered in the world, being the 19 years the average age to start to smoke regularly.
The study also detects an increase in the number of people who tobacco mask, up to about 273 million, especially in Southeast Asia (with India leading the way), where it is consumed by at least 25% of men over 15 years of age.
The authors, who did not analyze the incidence of surrogates tobacco such as e-cigarettes, call on governments to adopt effective policies to reduce the presence in society of smoking and prevent youth initiation, including eliminating flavored nicotine products.
“The persistently high prevalence of tobacco among young people in many countries, along with the expansion of new tobacco and nicotine products, they underline the need to redouble control “, says one of the researchers, Emmanuela Gakidou, from the Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation of the University of Seattle (USA)
His colleague Marissa Reitsma adds that if young people’s access to tobacco is not reduced annually, which would decrease the number of adult smokers, “The tobacco epidemic will continue for many years.”
The authors regret that, after 182 countries have ratified the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention for Tobacco Control in 2005, in 2018 only 62 had comprehensive anti-habit programs that include help to quit; health warnings and ad and sponsorship bans, and only 38 had the recommended tax levels.
According to the authors, increasing tobacco taxes is an “effective and cost-effective” measure, especially if the proceeds are invested in tobacco control programs and other health and social support services.