Smoking rates dip globally for first time, but rise for kids

According to a recent analysis on tobacco use from a public health advocacy organization and US academics, smoking rates have decreased internationally for the first time on record.

However, the Tobacco Atlas report’s data – which the authors characterize as a possible tipping point – conceal rising numbers of smokers in several regions of the world, as well as increased tobacco use among young teens in nearly half of the nations assessed.

According to the analysis by Vital Strategies and the Tobacconomics team at the University of Illinois at Chicago, there are 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and 200 million more who use other tobacco products.

Smoking rates fell from 22.6 percent in 2007 to 19.6 percent in 2019, the first drop since the study began in 2002, according to the researchers.

However, the research said that population growth in Africa, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Western Pacific regions meant that smokers were still growing in a number of countries. Furthermore, incidence is increasing among adults and young people in at least ten African nations.

“The business is still preying on emerging countries in ways that will lock in damages for a decade or more,” said Jeffrey Drope, an author of the paper and a public health professor at the University of Illinois.

In a number of nations, children were also targeted, leading in an increase in smoking among teens aged 13-15 in 63 of the 135 countries examined, he added. Around 50 million boys and girls in this age bracket already use tobacco products, he said, and the impact of new goods like as e-cigarettes and flavored products was yet unknown.

Drope stated that while falling prevalence internationally was an evidence of the efficacy of strong tobacco control measures like increasing pricing, many low-income nations lacked sufficient limitations.

According to the figures, tobacco usage resulted in about 8.7 million fatalities globally in 2019, as well as $2 trillion in economic harm. While high-income nations presently account for more than half of all fatalities, this is projected to alter if cigarette smoking continues to grow in low-income areas.

The paper also claims that the tobacco industry is promoting menthol cigarettes to black people in the United States. The authors endorsed the FDA’s intention to prohibit its sale in the United States.

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