Health
Author`s name Alex Naumov

1 billion people to be killed by tobacco this century

Today millions people around the world can’t get rid of such a bad habit as smoking. They perfectly realize that smoking leads to many different diseases that can have dangerous consequences. Recent tobacco research showed quite disappointing results that confirm the warnings written on cigarette packs.

If current trends hold, tobacco will kill a billion people this century, 10 times the toll it took in the 20th century, public health officials said Monday.

Tobacco accounts for one in five cancer deaths or 1.4 million deaths worldwide each year, according to two new reference guides that chart global tobacco use and cancer. Lung cancer remains the major cancer among the 10.9 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, according to the Cancer Atlas.

Reducing tobacco use would have the greatest affect on global cancer rates, health officials said. Improving nutrition and reducing infection by cancer-causing viruses and bacteria could also cut rates dramatically, they said.

"We know with cancer, if we take action now, we can save 2 million lives a year by 2020 and 6.5 million by 2040," said Dr. Judith Mackay, a World Health Organization senior policy adviser.

The new Cancer Atlas and updated Tobacco Atlas were released Monday at a International Union Against Cancer conference. The American Cancer Society published the two atlases with help from the Union, WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Even if smoking rates decline worldwide, there will be a constant or even slightly increasing number of smokers due to population increases," said Michael Eriksen, director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University.

An estimated 1.25 billion men and women smoke cigarettes now, according to the Tobacco Atlas.

Lung cancer remains the major illness among the 10.9 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, according to the Cancer Atlas. And it is not likely to be bumped from its perch: In countries like China, where 300 million men now smoke, lung cancer could eventually kill a million smokers a year, Seffrin said.

The authors and researchers responsible for the atlases fear that a reduction in the global prevalence of smoking would do little to curb what they called the "tobacco epidemic."

"Even if smoking rates decline worldwide, there will be a constant or even slightly increasing number of smokers due to population increases," said Michael Eriksen, director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University.

In 2002, besides the nearly 11 million new cancer cases worldwide, there were nearly 7 million cancer deaths. By 2020, officials anticipate there will be 16 million new cases a year and 10 million deaths. An estimated 70 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, according to the Cancer Atlas. The number of new cases is largely the result of the increasing proportion of older people in the world, The AP reports.

Source: Associated Press

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
Pravda.ru

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