Number of smokers reaches all-time high, youngsters worst affected: Study

 A study published in the Lancet on May 27 revealed that the number of smokers worldwide has increased to 1.1 billion in 2019, with tobacco smoking causing 7.7 million deaths. The findings of 3,625 surveys from 204 countries revealed that 89 per cent of new smokers became addicted to tobacco before the age of 25.

The research examined trends in 204 countries and was produced as part of the Global Burden of Disease consortium of researchers, which studies health issues that lead to death and disability. The authors of the study have called on all countries to urgently adopt evidence-based policies to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and prevent initiation, particularly among adolescents and young adults. Marissa Reitsma , the study’s lead author and researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said the evidence suggested that if young people faced delays in picking up the habit they would be less likely become smokers.

According to the study, there were an estimated 155 million smokers aged between 15 and 24 years equivalent to 20.1 per cent of young men and 5 per cent of young women, globally in 2019. Two-thirds of all current smokers began smoking by age 20, and 89 per cent of smokers began by age 25. In 12 countries and territories in 2019, more than one in three young people were smokers, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, France, Chile, Turkey, and Greenland, as well as five Pacific islands. India, Egypt, and Indonesia had the largest increase in number of young male smokers while Turkey, Jordan, and Zambia had the largest increase in number of young female smokers. Dr Vin Gupta, co-author of the study, IHME said that there should be stronger commitment to tackling smoking, as well as products such as flavoured cigarettes so that young people do not get addicted to it.

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