Tobacco smoking has seen a huge rise in the last two decades as accessibility and production grew. Globally, the number of active smokers rose to 1.1 billion in 2019 and deaths caused by tobacco smoking were 7.7 million worldwide. Among the growing number of new smokers, it was found that 89 percent became an addict at the age of 25.
Tobacco smokers in India are about two crores between the age of 15 to 24 and it was found that India stands at the second-highest position globally as young people are becoming addicted to smoking. Since 1990, this age group witnessed the highest increase among male smokers while female smokers’ growth is seen in the last decade.
Over 80 percent of global tobacco users come from low and middle-income countries. In these countries, tobacco-related illnesses and deaths are widespread. Due to the growing number of deaths, experts consider tobacco consumption has created a situation of an epidemic.
“The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. It is killing more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke,” read a WHO blog.
The top 10 countries with the largest number of active tobacco smokers in 2019 together account for two-thirds of the global smoking population. China followed by India, Indonesia, the United States of America, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Globally Active tobacco smokers in the 15-24 age group are 155 million, while China stands first with 26.5 million smokers, followed by India with 19.7 million smokers and Indonesia with 9.92 million smokers.
“In countries like India, there has been largest absolute increase in number of young male smokers,” said professor Monika Arora, co-author of the paper and director of the health division at Public Health Foundation of India.
Loss of life
Many studies prove that a smoker has 10 years less life expectancy when compared to a non-smoker. In 2019, nearly 1.7 million people died due to ischaemic heart disease, 1.6 million died from COPD and other lung diseases caused over one million deaths worldwide.
Nearly 87 percent people died due to smoking globally are active smokers while only 6 percent of death are those who are non-smokers and quit the habit 15 years prior.