WHO Conducts Largest Ever Health Study on Tobacco Use
The World Health Organization has just completed the largest study on health risks posed by tobacco use in history. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey made some alarming observations and said that immediate action is needed to prevent future deaths.
According to the study, more citizens around the world are smoking at earlier ages. This means smokers are likely to develop more concerning health problems over their lives. Additionally, more people are likely to become addicted to tobacco over the coming years.
The WHO is calling for global leaders to start developing new health policies to discourage or ban smoking. The organization said that if they do not take immediate action, over a billion people will probably die from smoking by the end of the 21st century.
The biggest concern arises from tobacco use in developing nations. Developed nations such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have educated their citizens on the risks posed by smoking. However, citizens in poorer nations are smoking more frequently and at earlier ages. Global tobacco firms are investing more of their marketing budgets towards developing nations in Africa and Asia.
The Global Adult Tobacco Survey interviewed people over the age of 15 from 14 developing nations across the world. Nearly 250,000 people around the world were questioned in the survey. The data were compared with information from the United States and the United Kingdom.
According to Gary Giovino, a researcher at the University of Buffalo, the studies indicate that the tobacco industry is taking more aggressive marketing measures. They have utilized a number of strategic marketing campaigns to relay their messages.
They have increasingly spent more money to convince women around the world that smoking will make them look more attractive. This study is clearly targeting women, because they are not using tobacco as much as men. Nearly half of all men in the countries studied have used tobacco, compared with just over 10% of women. However, their marketing strategies appear to be working well, because more women are smoking at a younger age.
The study also found that tobacco appeared most addictive to Asian citizens. Citizens from China, India and Russia had the lowest quitting rates. The prevalence of tobacco use in those countries was much higher among teenagers and adults in their twenties. The WHO concluded that this will lead to a major health crisis in the coming years.
On a more positive note, tobacco use in the United States and other first-world nations has declined considerably. A significant amount of the drop was due to increased education on controlling tobacco use. Currently less than one in 5 U.S. citizens smokes. However, the decline hasn’t been as significant as governments have been forced to cut back on programs designed to help curb smoking. The WHO cites this as evidence that world governments will need to institute new policies to encourage more people to give up the habit.