Tobacco: Uphill battle for antismoking campaigns in poor and middle-income countries

From the New York Times:

Despite expensive antismoking campaigns, 41 percent of men in poor and middle-income countries still smoke and more young women are starting to, according to a major new survey of global tobacco use.

The survey, based on 248,452 interviews in 14 countries and published in The Lancet on Thursday, found that the world’s two most populous countries, India (above) and China, had the most new smokers, and the percentage of people who quit there and in Egypt, Bangladesh and Russia was as low as it was in the United States 50 years ago.

While Westerners in general can afford to smoke, the poorest nicotine addicts sometimes buy tobacco rather than food for their families, said the study’s leader, Gary A. Giovino of the University at Buffalo of the State University of New York.

At present, tobacco causes only 4 percent of deaths in poor countries, compared with 18 percent in rich ones, but that trend is shifting.

Governments of poor countries collect $9,100 in tobacco taxes for every $1 they spend on antismoking messages, a Lancet editorial added. In some countries, the tobacco company is government-owned.

Read the complete story here.

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