Smoking deaths in 2015 up 5% worldwide compared to 1990

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PARIS: The percentage of men and women who use tobacco every day has dropped in most nations since 1990, but the total number of smokers and tobacco-related deaths have increased, researchers reported yesterday.

Mortality could rise even further as tobacco companies target new markets, especially in the developing world, they warned in a report published in medical journal The Lancet.

One in four men and one in 20 women smoked daily in 2015, according to the Global Burden of Diseases report. That was a significant percentage drop compared with 25 years earlier, when one in three men and one in 12 women lit up every day.

But tobacco deaths - which topped 6.4 million in 2015 - went up by 4.7 per cent over the same period due to the expanding world population. More than 930 million people smoked daily in 2015, compared with 870 million in 1990 - a 7 per cent jump.

Smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide, half of them in just four countries: China, India, the United States and Russia. Together with Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Japan, Brazil and Germany, they account for two-thirds of global tobacco use.

Some countries have seen sharp reductions in smoking driven by high taxes, education campaigns, package warnings and programmes to help people kick the nicotine habit.

Brazil was among the leaders over the 25-year period, with daily smokers dropping from 29 per cent to 12 per cent among men, and from 19 per cent to 8 per cent among women.

The World Health Organisation projects that the number of people smoking in sub-Saharan Africa will go up 50 per cent by 2025, compared with 2010 levels.

"Future mortality in low and middle-income countries is likely to be huge," Professor John Britton from the University of Nottingham's UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies said in The Lancet. He said responsibility for the epidemic lies with a handful of multinationals based in rich countries.- AFP