In the past 30 years, the world saw more than 200 million deaths from smoking and the annual economic costs exceed one trillion dollars. This alarming situation will worsen and the need of tobacco control gains an urgent public health priority.
A study in the Lancet said that the world had more than a billion smokers in 2019 and that the numbers are likely to increase in the coming decades. The study makes a point that enormous health and economic consequences of global tobacco epidemic make tobacco control a clear and urgent public health priority.
The Lancet study said that efforts were to curb the habit outstripped by a population growth with 150 million more people smoking in the nine years from 1990. Though several countries observed significant progress in reducing prevalence of tobacco use, a large implementation gap remains for its control. Most of the countries need a clear and evidence based policies for tobacco use reductions.
- 1.14 billion smokers in 2019.
- Current use of smokers tobacco among individuals aged 15 years and older was 32.7% among males and 6.62% among females.
- The prevalence exceeded 20 per cent among males in 151 countries and among females in 42 countries.
- Among individuals, aged 15 years and older, countries with the highest prevalence of smoking among males were mostly in Asia and Oceania.
- Highest prevalence use among females was mostly in Europe and Oceania.
- Among the 159 countries with a population exceeding one million, highest prevalence of tobacco use in males aged 15 years and older was observed in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Armenia, Jordan, and Georgia.
- Highest prevalence of use among females aged 15 years and older was observed in Serbia, Chile, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece (table).
- Ten countries with the largest number of smokers in 2019, together comprising nearly two-thirds of the global tobacco smoking population were China, India, Indonesia, the USA, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and the Philippines.
- Highest prevalence of smoking tobacco use among females was mostly in Europe and Oceania. Among the 159 countries with a population exceeding 1 million, the highest prevalence of smoking tobacco use in males aged 15 years and older was observed in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Armenia, Jordan, and Georgia.
- Highest prevalence of smoking tobacco use among females aged 15 years and older was observed in Serbia, Chile, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece.
- China accounted for more than a third of the world’s tobacco consumption
- Countries with highest consumption per person in 2019 were mostly in Europe, with Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Greece.
- Countries with the lowest consumption per person were mostly in sub-Saharan Africa
- Largest number of deaths attributable to smoking tobacco use for both sexes in 2019 was ischaemic heart disease (1.68 million), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (1.59 million). tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer (1.31 million) and stroke (0.931 million).
- An estimated 5.96 million of 7.69 million deaths occurred in low and middle income countries in 2019. Ukraine had the highest death rate from smoking among males (487 per 100000 males.
- Among females, Denmark, Montenegro, Serbia, and Greenland had the highest rates of deaths.
- Across all age groups, tobacco use caused more than 20 per cent of all male deaths in 73 countries in 2019.
The Lancet Study points out smoking remained a defining challenge in global health. The Governments face substantial obstacles ranging from population growth to pressure from the tobacco industry to competing health and political priorities.
However, the Lancet study says that all countries should give importance to adopt, implement, and enforce comprehensive packages of evidence based tobacco control policies. They point out that the present tobacco control policies are insufficient in many countries.