by Anne Trueman on  September 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM Health Watch
 Prevalence of Tobacco - A Major Concern
Tobacco is consumed in the form of cigar and cigarette snuff, pipes and chewed as such. It is grown as a valuable cash crop in India, China, Cuba and United States.

Besides consumption, tobacco is also used as a pesticide and as nicotine tartrate in medicines.

The most important species N. tabacum is native to tropical America and N. rustica, a fast burning and mild flavored species is grown chiefly in India, Russia and Turkey.

Tobacco contains harmful alkaloids and polycyclic hydrocarbons such as benzpyrene, arsenic, cadmium, nickel, etc. Tobacco consumption can lead to various lung and heart diseases, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and cancers of mouth, larynx and pancreas. "The effects depend on the number of years that a person smokes and on how much the person smokes. Starting smoking earlier in life and smoking cigarettes higher in tartrate increases the risk of these diseases."

Nicotine has a powerful addictive property and easy tolerance and dependence develops with tobacco consumption. About 1.1 billion people use tobacco in some form or the other. One-third of the adult population uses tobacco.

According to World Health Organization, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death globally and annually tobacco is responsible for about 5.4 million deaths. In developing nations rate of smoking is still rising.

In order to assess the prevalence data for patterns of use of tobacco by adults and the factors affecting this use, Gary Giovino et al analyzed the data from Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). The findings were published in The Lancet, August 2012.

The survey was conducted between 1 October 2008 and 15 March, 2010 and involved individuals aged 15 years and above in fourteen low-income and middle-income countries such as Bangladesh, India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, Vietnam, Uruguay, Russia, Egypt, Philippines, Poland, Turkey and Thailand.

The survey revealed that about 48.6 percent men and 11.3 percent women were tobacco users.

82 percent smokers preferred manufactured cigarettes and smokeless tobacco and bidis were quite prevalent in Bangladesh and India.

Another important point that this survey showed was that women aged between 55 to 64 years started smoking at an older age than their male counterparts.

Smoking quit rates were very low in India, China, Russia, Bangladesh and Egypt,

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey-GATS showed early beginning of smoking in women and high rates of smoking in men. The smoking quit ratios are quite low. Further efforts are required to promote cessation of the use of tobacco and to consequently lower tobacco associated mortality and morbidity.

Reference : Tobacco use in 3 billion individuals from 16 countries: an analysis of nationally representative cross-sectional household surveys; Gary Giovino et al; The Lancet, Volume 380, Issue 9842, Pages 668 - 679, 18 August 2012

Source: Medindia

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