Tobacco Will Kill 1 Billion This Century, Officials Say
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Author:  Catherine [ Thu Jul 13, 2006 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Tobacco Will Kill 1 Billion This Century, Officials Say

Tobacco Will Kill 1 Billion This Century, Officials Say

Cutting use would have single largest effect on cancer rates, experts say

by Andrew Bridges

Curbing tobacco use and taking other steps to eliminate some of the most common risk factors for cancer could save millions of lives in the next few decades, health officials said Monday.

Tobacco alone is predicted to kill a billion people this century, 10 times the toll it took in the 20th century, if current trends hold.

"In all of world history, this is the largest train wreck not waiting to happen," said John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.

A porter smokes a cigarette on No Tobacco Day during a work break in Kathmandu, Nepal, May 31, 2006. REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar

Reducing tobacco use would have the single largest effect on global cancer rates, Seffrin and other health officials said Monday in unveiling two reference guides that chart global tobacco use and cancer.

Changing diets to contain fewer saturated fats and more fruits and vegetables, as well as reducing infection by cancer-causing viruses and bacteria, also could cut rates dramatically, the officials said.

"We know with cancer, if we take action now, we can save 2 million lives a year by 2020 and 6.5 million by 2040," said Dr. Judith Mackay, a World Health Organization senior policy adviser.

Today, tobacco accounts for one in five cancer deaths, or 1.4 million deaths worldwide each year, according to the new Cancer Atlas.

When deaths from tobacco-related cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases are included, the yearly death toll rises to nearly 5 million, and it is expected to keep going up.

An estimated 1.25 billion men and women currently smoke cigarettes, and more than half of them will die from the habit, according to the newly issued second edition of the Tobacco Atlas.

The two atlases were released Monday at an International Union Against Cancer conference. The two statistics-packed guides are meant as reference guides for doctors, politicians, academics, students and attorneys who work on cancer and tobacco control.

Lung cancer remains the major illness among the 10.9 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, according to the Cancer Atlas.

And it is not likely to be bumped from its perch: In countries such as China, where 300 million men now smoke, lung cancer eventually could kill a million smokers a year, Seffrin said.

The authors and researchers responsible for the atlases fear that a reduction in the global prevalence of smoking would do little to curb what they called the "tobacco epidemic."

"Even if smoking rates decline worldwide, there will be a constant or even slightly increasing number of smokers due to population increases," said Michael Eriksen, director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University.

In 2002, besides the nearly 11 million new cancer cases worldwide, there were nearly 7 million cancer deaths. By 2020, officials anticipate there will be 16 million new cases a year and 10 million deaths.

An estimated 70 percent of those deaths will occur in developing countries, according to the Cancer Atlas. The number of new cases is largely the result of the increasing proportion of older people in the world.

The risk of developing cancer is higher in the developed world, according to the Cancer Atlas. In the United States, for instance, the probability someone will develop cancer by age 65 is nearly 18 percent.

In Oman, the probability is just shy of 6 percent. Still, cancers in developing countries are more often fatal.

© 2006 Associated Press




Author:  dori [ Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:15 am ]
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And all aspects having to do with oil will kill a huge number of people too.

Most people never think of it, though.

Author:  Catherine [ Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:18 am ]
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My state, NC, will always be reluctant to go along with anything that curbs Big Tobacco. Of course, I doubt that countries would be invaded for the tobacco industry! BUT, on the other hand, the tobacco industry has done a marvelous job of taking their nasty product to foreign countries and making sure young/old people have become addicted.

That's just another kind of invasion that does kill, only a bit more slowly and a lot less violently than invasions of other countries for their oil. AND it's legal because it's BUSINESS, and the people have a choice in whether or not they light up that first cigarette.

The poor Iraqis never had much choice, did they?


Author:  dori [ Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:32 am ]
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Very good point, Catherine.

I have wondered over time, would it be possible for tobacco fields to grow hemp? Not the kind you smoke, the kind our forefathers used to make paper and cloth. It probably wouldn't be as profitable, so I guess it has to be against the law, eh?

Why is hemp totally off limits when it is superior to wood, and we need that wood to produce oxygen and for wildlife habitat?

Is there room on this planet for anything beyond humans?

Author:  justinmoon22 [ Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:50 pm ]
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Nope......Its man for himself......only himself.

Author:  Catherine [ Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:53 pm ]
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Sometimes I tend to think of us humans as cancerous growths on the face of the planet. When a "natural disaster" occurs, it's the planet's way of trying to get rid of us!

A bit mystical, but interesting to contemplate. :P


Author:  dori [ Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:04 pm ]
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Your thought is unfortunately accurate!

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