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TOBACCO USE: A PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER
At present, it is estimated that tobacco kills over 3 million people per year. Based on current trends, however, the death toll will rise to 10 million deaths per year by the 2020s or 2030s, with 70% of those deaths occurring in developing countries. According to YMO estimates, there are approximately 1. I thousand million smokers in the world - about one-third of the global population aged 15 years and over. Globally, approximately 47% of men and 12% of women smoke. In developing countries, available data suggest that 48% of men smoke as do 7% of women, while in developed countries, 42% of men and 24% of women smoke.
According to the World Bank
Unless smoking behavior changes, three decades from now, premature deaths caused by tobacco in the developing world will exceed the expected deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis, and complications of childbirth combined
Tobacco is a risk factor for some 25 diseases and while its effects on health are well known, the sheer scale of its impact on global disease burden may still not be fully appreciated. No SINGLE disease is expected to make such a giant claim on health as this one risk factor. Estimates indicate that tobacco is already responsible for about 2.6% of the total death and disease burden, and that it is projected to triple its share to 8.9% of the total by the year 2020. For each 1000 tons of tobacco produced, about 1000 people will eventually die.
In the more developed countries, the impact of tobacco on the health of men is being manifested at present, although it has yet to reach its peak among women. The epidemic is only now beginning in lowland middle-income countries. The biggest and sharpest increases in disease burden are expected in China and India, where the use of tobacco has grown most steeply. If current trends continue, two to three million annual tobacco-caused deaths are predicted for China alone by the 2020s.
The risk at the individual level is even more alarming. Based on current data, lifelong smokers, on average, have a 50% chance of dying from tobacco. And half of these will die in middle age, before age seventy. Smokers who die from smoking before age 70 will lose, on average, 22 years of normal life expectancy.
Of all the diseases causally associated with smoking, lung cancer is the best known. However, smoking actually causes more deaths from diseases other than lung cancer. In 1995, there were 514,000 smoking-caused lung cancer deaths in developed countries, compared to 625 000 smoking attributable deaths from heart and other vascular diseases in the same year. Studies in the United Kingdom have shown that smokers in their 30s and 40s are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers.
TOBACCO USE: A PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER http://www.who.ch/programmes/psa/toh/Alert/4-96/E/ta3.htm
All tobacco products contain substantial amounts of nicotine, which is absorbed readily from tobacco smoke in the lungs and from smokeless tobacco in the mouth or nose. Nicotine has been clearly recognized as a drug of addiction, and tobacco dependence has been classified as a mental and behavioral disorder according to the YMO International Classification of Diseases, ICD- IO (Classification F17.2).
- Smoking is a known or probable cause of death from cancers of the: oral cavity, larynx, lung, oesophagus, bladder, pancreas, renal pelvis, stomach, and cervix
- Smoking is also a cause of heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, chronic obstructive lung diseases and other respiratory diseases, and low-birthweight babies
- Smoking is a probable cause of peptic ulcer disease, unsuccessful pregnancies, increased infant mortality (including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS))
Experts in the field of substance abuse consider tobacco dependence to be as strong or stronger than dependence on such substances as heroin or cocaine. Smoking typically begins in adolescence. If a person remains smoke-free throughout adolescence, it is highly unlikely that he or she will ever begin smoking. Therefore, it is vital that intensive efforts be made to help young people stay smoke-free.
Although 75-85% of smokers, where this has been measured, want to quit and about one third have made at least three serious attempts, less than half of smokers succeed in stopping permanently before the age of 60. Nicotine dependence is clearly a major barrier to successful cessation.
Smoking control policies should contain strategies to strengthen smokers' motivation to quit, such as health education, public information, price policies, smoke-free policies, and behavioral programs. In addition, there is evidence to indicate that, where appropriate, the use of pharmacological treatments, particularly nicotine replacement products, can ease physical dependence-related difficulties for smokers who try to quit.
In order to achieve successful cessation of smoking on a very large scale, special "cessation programs" are far from enough. Currently, only a few health professionals are trained in the treatment of tobacco dependence. All health professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists, should be given both basic and in-service training so that they are capable of providing advice and/or treatment for tobacco dependence. Tobacco dependence is a serious public health problem which warrants serious attention if the epidemic of tobacco-related mortality and morbidity is to be reduced.
There are many benefits of quitting smoking
Smoking cessation has immediate and substantial health benefits, and dramatically reduces the risk of death.