Thursday November 14, 2019

Smoking costs Global economy more than $1 Trillion a year, will kill one-third more people by 2030 than it does now: Study

That cost far outweighs global revenues from tobacco taxes, which the WHO estimated at about $269 billion in 2013-2014

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FILE - Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, VOA

Smoking costs the global economy more than $1 trillion a year, and will kill one-third more people by 2030 than it does now, according to a study by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Cancer Institute published on Tuesday.

That cost far outweighs global revenues from tobacco taxes, which the WHO estimated at about $269 billion in 2013-2014.

“The number of tobacco-related deaths is projected to increase from about 6 million deaths annually to about 8 million annually by 2030, with more than 80 percent of these occurring in LMICs [low- and middle-income countries],” the study said.

Around 80 percent of smokers live in such countries, and although smoking prevalence was falling among the global population, the total number of smokers worldwide is rising, it said.

Health experts say tobacco use is the single biggest preventable cause of death globally.

“It is responsible for… likely over $1 trillion in health care costs and lost productivity each year,” said the study, peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts.

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The economic costs are expected to continue to rise, and although governments have the tools to reduce tobacco use and associated deaths, most have fallen far short of using those tools effectively, said the 688-page report.

“Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence. The science is clear; the time for action is now.”

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How to quit

Cheap and effective policies included hiking tobacco taxes and prices, comprehensive smoke-free policies, complete bans on tobacco company marketing, and prominent pictorial warning labels.

Tobacco taxes could also be used to fund more expensive interventions such as anti-tobacco mass media campaigns and support for cessation services and treatments, it said.

Governments spent less than $1 billion on tobacco control in 2013-2014, according to a WHO estimate.

Tobacco regulation meanwhile is reaching a crunch point because of a trade dispute brought by Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and Dominican Republic against Australia’s stringent “plain packaging” laws, which enforce standardized designs on tobacco products and ban distinctive logos and colorful branding.

The World Trade Organization is expected to rule on the complaint this year. Australia’s policy is being closely watched by other countries that are considering similar policies, including Norway, Slovenia, Canada, Singapore, Belgium and South Africa, the study said. (VOA)

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Here’s How E-Cigarettes Can Be More Dangerous For Heart Health

The study also estimates that in 2018, around 3.62 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users

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E-Cigarettes
For the current findings, the team of researchers compared healthy, young adult smokers aged 18 to 38 who were regular users of E-Cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes. Pixabay

Researchers have found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as E-Cigarettes might be just as harmful to the heart, than traditional cigarettes.

“Our results suggest that e-cigarette use is associated with coronary vascular dysfunction at rest, even in the absence of physiologic stress, these findings indicate the opposite of what e-cigarette and vaping marketing is saying about their safety profile,” said study researcher Susan Cheng, Director of Public Health Research at the Smidt Heart Institute.

A recent study by the US Food and Drug Administration found that 27.5 per cent of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019, as compared to 20.8 per cent in 2018.

The study also estimates that in 2018, around 3.62 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users.

For the current findings, the team of researchers compared healthy, young adult smokers aged 18 to 38 who were regular users of e-cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes.

The researchers then measured participants’ blood flow to the heart muscle – focusing on a measure of coronary vascular function – before and after sessions of either e-cigarette use or cigarette smoking, while participants were at rest and also after they performed a handgrip exercise which simulates physiologic stress.

It was also found that in smokers who had inhaled the traditional cigarettes, blood flow increased modestly and then decreased with subsequent stress.

However, in smokers who used e-cigarettes, blood flow decreased after both inhalation at rest and handgrip stress.

“We have known for decades that smoking increases your risk for heart attack and dying from heart disease, now, with this study, we have compelling evidence suggesting that newer methods of electronic nicotine delivery may be equally, or potentially more, harmful to your heart as traditional cigarettes,” said researcher Christine Albert.

E-Cigarettes
Researchers have found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as E-Cigarettes might be just as harmful to the heart, than traditional cigarettes. Pixabay

Given that e-cigarettes represent a relatively new product in the market, Albert cautions users that there may be a number of unforeseen health effects.

To better understand the potentially dangerous consequences of e-cigarettes, investigators plan on studying the mechanisms underlying changes in heart and blood vessel flow seen in their work to-date, as well as the effects of e-cigarette use across a more diverse population of study participants including those with existing cardiovascular risk.

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“What we are learning from our own research, along with the work of others, is that use of any electronic nicotine delivery system should be considered with a high degree of caution until more data can be gathered,” said study senior author Florian Rader.

The findings were presented at the annual American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2019. (IANS)