Smoking killed nearly 8 million people in 2019 and the number of smokers increased as young people around the world picked up the habit, according to new research.
A study published in The Lancet on Thursday said that efforts to curb the habit had been outstripped by population growth with 150 million more people smoking in the nine years from 1990, reaching an all-time high of 1.1 billion.
The study authors said governments should focus on reducing youth uptake, as 89% of new smokers were addicted by the age of 25, but they were unlikely to start beyond that. age.
“Young people are particularly vulnerable to addiction, and with high quit rates still elusive around the world, the tobacco epidemic will continue for years to come unless countries can dramatically reduce the number of new smokers. that start every year, “said study lead author Marissa Reitsma, a researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Although the prevalence of smoking has declined globally over the past three decades, it increased for men in 20 countries and for women in 12. Only 10 countries made up two-thirds of the world’s smoking population: China, India, Indonesia, USA, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and the Philippines. One in three tobacco smokers (341 million) lives in China.
In 2019, smoking was associated with 1.7 million deaths from ischemic heart disease, 1.6 million deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 1.3 million deaths from cancer of the trachea, bronchus, and lung, and nearly 1 million deaths from stroke. Previous studies have shown that at least half of long-term smokers will die from causes directly related to smoking, and that smokers have an average life expectancy 10 years shorter than those who have never smoked.
The research examined trends in 204 countries and was produced as part of the Global Burden of Disease consortium of researchers, which studies health problems that lead to death and disability.
According to the study, half of all countries had made no progress in stopping adoption among 15-24 year olds and the average age for someone to start was 19, when it is legal in most places.
Reitsma said the evidence suggests that if young people face delays in acquiring the habit, they are less likely to end up becoming smokers.
“Ensuring that youth remain smoke-free until their mid-20s will result in dramatic reductions in smoking rates for the next generation,” Reitsma said.
Despite 182 countries signing a 2005 convention on tobacco control, the implementation of policies to reduce smoking had been mixed. The researchers said that taxes were the most effective policy, but there was a significant discrepancy between the high cost of a pack of cigarettes in developed countries and the significantly lower costs in low- and middle-income countries.
Study co-author Vin Gupta said greater commitment was needed to combat smoking, as well as products like flavored cigarettes and e-cigarettes that could appeal to young people.
“Despite progress in some countries, tobacco industry interference and waning political commitment have resulted in a large and persistent gap between knowledge and action on global tobacco control,” Gupta said.
“Bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship should be extended to Internet-based media, but only one in four countries has completely banned all forms of direct and indirect advertising.”