According to the World Health Organization, while cigarette consumption is declining in some countries, the number of smokers worldwide is on the upswing. Those smokers also consume more cigarettes than ever.
Tobacco is considered the single most important risk factor for cancer, which the WHO says accounted for 7.4 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2004. More than 70% of all cancer deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
On average, smokers increase their risk of lung cancer between 5 and 10-fold and in developed countries, smoking is responsible for upwards of 80% of all lung cancers. Using American data, 24% of men who smoke can expect to developing cancer during their expected life time. Recently, the spread of tobacco use to developing countries has led to papers describing similar patterns there.
The Global Tobacco Atlas, funded by the American Cancer Society and the World Lung Foundation, present data on the rates of cigarette smoking around the world. Below are maps showing overall consumption and consumption divided by male and female.
Annual cigarette consumption per person:
Percentage of males who smoke cigarettes:
Percentage of females who smoke cigarettes:
MedIndia, an Asian health portal, focused on smoking prevention in the developing world.
The WHO makes no qualms about the fact that in the absence of timely intervention, cancer can claim the lives of 84 million people worldwide between 2005 and 2015, with the low and middle-income countries bearing the brunt as compared to the industrialized ones… According to the forecasted figures for 2030, there are likely to be 20-26 million fresh cancer diagnoses and 13-17 million cancer related deaths. China, Russia, and India need to watch out and tackle the growing burden of cancer, attributed mainly to increase in use of tobacco, fatty diets, adoption of western habits, and demographic changes.
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