Updated on 17 June 2014
Tobacco smoking is raising death toll
Singapore: According to a study in PLOS Medicine, by Prof Wei Zheng, professor of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, and Mr John Potter, a member and scientific advisor of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, tobacco smoking has caused around two million deaths in the recent years and a rising toll has been predicted.
Of the total population, half of the male population in asia are smokers. The authors believe that this rise in smoking among Asians is due to aggressive product marketing by tobacco companies and a lack of education about health issues related to tobacco.
For this population-based research, investigators pooled data from large cohort studies conducted in Asia and included demographic and risk factor information collected in seven Asian regions from the early 1960s through the late 1990s (although most of the studies enrolled participants after the mid-1980s). The cohorts of 1,223,092 participants who were at least 45 years of age were in Bangladesh, India, mainland China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
Among men who had ever smoked, there was an elevated risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer or respiratory diseases in all of the geographic regions in 2004. The risk of death due to any disease, however, varied considerably across populations, with the stronger association generally found in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan compared to that observed in China and India.
The association with cancer risk was quite consistent across study populations. Men who had smoked were nearly twice as likely to die from cancer, especially lung cancer, but there was also an elevated risk of death from cancers of the head and neck, esophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, pancreas and bladder - all diseases that have been linked to smoking in previous studies, according to the authors.