6th October, 2011
Medical researchers have predicted that 40 million people are expected to die between now and 2050 from smoking and related diseases such as tuberculosis.
According to research report published on the British Medical Journal this week, smoking is already threatening Millenium Development Goals of many countries in the world and could single-handedly undermine its achievement in the area of health.
The study, led by Dr Sanjay Basu from the University of California, finds that because smoking increases the risk of contracting TB, there will be 18 million more cases worldwide between 2010 and 2050 aside the 40 million people that are expected to die.
The team however added that â€œaggressive tobacco control could avert millions of deaths from tuberculosis.â€
According to the team, smoking tobacco is a TB risk factor and nearly one fifth of the worldâ€™s population smokes. The team also said most cigarettes are smoked in countries with high TB prevalence and where the tobacco industry has expanded its market.
Nigeria is one of the countries with a high level of smokers because tobacco companies have flourished in the country and have a good market for their product.
The researchers, who used a mathematical model to investigate the issue, found that smoking may have a substantial impact on future TB rates because a moderate increase in individual risk translates into a large population-level risk because so many people smoke.
The results predicted that between 2010 and 2050 worldwide smoking could lead to 40 million excess TB deaths (from 61 to 101 million).
The result also concluded that with the current smoking trends, the number of excess TB cases would rise from 256 to 274 million with 18 million new cases in total.
Most affected by the research report are African countries, Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asian regions and the result says these regions would experience the greatest increase in new TB cases attributable to smoking.