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Global Burden of Tobacco use

Global Burden 

  • According to the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2009,”tobacco will kill nearly 6 million people this year (2011) including 600,000 nonsmokers. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, and is estimated to kill more than 6 million people globally each year. By 2030, the number of tobacco-related deaths could reach 8 million a year, if current trends continue; tobacco and an astonishing 80% of these premature deaths will be in low- and middle-income countries.1-3
  • According to Professor Richard Peto of Oxford University said if cigarette consumption could be halved by 2020, 25 million deaths could be prevented in the first quarter of the 21st century.
  • Cigarettes kill one in two smokers prematurely, half of these deaths occurring during middle age (35-69 years).4
  • The total number of premature deaths caused by tobacco during the twentieth century has been estimated at about 100 million and, if current trends of tobacco use continue during the twenty-first century, the death toll is projected to go up to one billion.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO), which provides these estimates, also predicts that India will have the fastest rate of rise in deaths attributable to tobacco in the first two decades of the twenty first century.5
  •  The global economic cost of tobacco is predicted to reach $500 billion by 2010.6
  • Women smokers have a 25% greater risk of coronary heart disease than men that smoke, according to new research. The difference in risk between men and women was found in all age groups, but women ages 60-69 years had the highest risk difference. The risk of coronary heart disease increases by 2% each year a women smokes, and is higher among long-time smokers. It remains unclear if the difference is caused by biological factors or smoking behavior. 7
  • Approximately 100,000 children start smoking every day with Chinese leading the way. 47% of boys and 13% of girls have experimented with smoking in China, which consume >30% of all cigarettes.6
  •  A 10% increase in price reduces the consumption by 8% in low income and 4% in high income countries.
  • A smoker dies 10 to 15 years earlier than a nonsmoker and often spends the final years ravaged by dyspnea and pain.8
  • Although smoking –attributable mortality is expected to decline in the high income countries between 2002 and 2030, the disease burden of tobacco is expected to double in low and middle income countries from 3.4 million to 6.8 million2.
  • Indonesia has the third highest number of smokers in the world, surpassed by only China and India, which have five times Indonesia’s population. One-third of the population smokes, and over 3% of children ages 3-15 years are active smokers. Indonesian cigarettes cost only US$1 per pack, and are some of the cheapest tobacco products in the world. More than 425,000 Indonesians die every year from tobacco related illnesses and second-hand smoke. San Francisco Chronicle.


1. Frieden TR, Bloomberg MR. How to prevent 100 million deaths from tobacco. Lancet. May 19 2007;369(9574):1758-1761.

2. Mathers CD, Loncar D. Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease from 2002 to 2030. 2007; July 27,2007.

3. Oberg M, Jaakkola MS, Woodward A, Peruga A, Pruss-Ustun A. Worldwide burden of disease from exposure to second-hand smoke: a retrospective analysis of data from 192 countries. Lancet. Nov 25 2010.

4. Peto R. Smoking and death: the past 40 years and the next 40. BMJ. Oct 8 1994;309(6959):937-939.

5. Reddy KS, Gupta PC. Tobacco Control in India. New Delhi, India: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA and World Health Organization;2004.

6. Gostin LO. Global regulatory strategies for tobacco control. Jama. Nov 7 2007;298(17):2057-2059.

7. Huxley RR, Woodward M. Cigarette smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in women compared with men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Lancet. Aug 10 2011.

8. Schroeder S A. Shattuck Lecture. We can do better–improving the health of the American people. N Engl J Med. Sep 20 2007;357(12):1221-1228.

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