Tobacco use will kill nearly 6 million people next year from cancer, heart disease, emphysema and a range of other ills, global cancer experts said in the report, and estimated costs to the global economy of $500 billion a year in direct medical expenses, lost productivity and environmental harm.
Tobacco accounts for one out of every 10 deaths worldwide and will claim 5.5 million lives this year alone, the report said.
If current trends hold, by 2020, the number will grow to an estimated 7 million and top 8 million by 2030.
Almost 1 billion men and approximately 250 million women in the world smoke. The report indicates male smoking rates have now peaked, and trends in low-and middle-resource countries indicate slow but sure declines. However, this extremely slow trend is progressing over decades while, in the meantime, tobacco is killing about 5 million men every year. In general, higher-educated men are abandoning tobacco addiction, leaving the smoking habit to poorer, less-educated men.
China deserves special mention because of the enormity of the tobacco problem and the danger it poses. Nearly 60 percent of Chinese men are smokers, and the country consumes more than 37 percent of the world’s cigarettes. China’s monumental addiction is, according to Philip Morris, “the most important feature on the landscape.”
Escalating health and economic tolls imposed by tobacco threaten to impede the stable development of this major world power.
Important findings from the report: (download your own copy at www.tobaccoatlas.org)
- Smoking rates among women are either stable or increasing in several southern, central and eastern European countries.
- The risk of dying from lung cancer is more than 23 times higher for men who smoke than for nonsmokers and 13 times higher for women smokers.
- Tobacco kills one-third to one-half of those who smoke. Smokers die an average of 15 years earlier than nonsmokers.
- 50 million Chinese children, mostly boys, will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.
- Tobacco use will eventually kill 250 million of today’s teenagers and children.
- Nearly one-quarter of young people who smoke tried their first cigarette before the age of 10.
- Occupational exposure to secondhand smoke kills 200,000 workers every year.
- China by far leads the world in cigarette production followed by the United States, Russia and Japan.
“One hundred million people were killed by tobacco in the 20th century. Unless effective measures are implemented to prevent young people from smoking and to help current smokers quit, tobacco will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century,” the report predicts.
Publicly traded cigarette makers include Altria Group Inc’s Philip Morris unit, Reynolds American Inc’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Inc’s Lorillard Tobacco Co.
Dr. G comments:
“Why aren’t the chief executives of these “Angels of Death” companies put on trial in a War Crimes court like The Hague for crimes against humanity?
Please send me your thoughts, someone has to stand up to this genocide.”