Tobacco-Related Deaths Have Tripled In Past Decade
March 23, 2012

Tobacco-Related Deaths Have Tripled In Past Decade

The World Lung Foundation (WLF) said on Wednesday that tobacco-related deaths have tripled in the past decade.

The report by the health campaign group said that if current trends continue, a billion people will die from tobacco use and exposure this century.

According to the new report, tobacco has killed 50 million people in the last 10 years, and is responsible for over 15 percent of all male deaths and 7 percent of female deaths.

The report said tobacco is already the number one killer in China, causing 1.2 million deaths per year.

According to the World Lung Foundation, tobacco is being grown in about 3.8 million hectares in 124 countries around the world.

“The tobacco industry is among the top-10 most influential industries in the world because of its sheer magnitude of wealth and sales,” Judith Mackay, a physician and adviser to the World Lung Foundation and the World Health Organization, told Bloomberg.

The report said the world's six biggest tobacco companies made $35.1 billion in profits in 2010.

World Health Organization director general Margaret Chan said that 1.1 billion people in the past two years have become covered by at least one measure designed to curb tobacco use, thanks to a signed convention by 170 countries.

"We must never allow the tobacco industry to get the upper hand," she said in a foreword to the report. "Tobacco is a killer. It should not be advertised, subsidized or glamorized."

The report said that almost 80 percent of people who die from tobacco-related illnesses come from low- and middle-income countries.  Thirty-eight percent of male deaths in Turkey are from smoking-related illnesses.

"If we don't act, the projections for the future are even more morbid. And the burden of death caused by tobacco is increasingly one of the developing world, particularly Asia, the Middle East and Africa," Michael Eriksen, one of the report's authors, told Reuters.