Published on: August 21, 2012

If you live in a town where smoking has been banned in public places, it may seem like the habit is on the decline. But the global numbers tell a much different story.

The largest ever study published in the Lancet estimating prevalence of smoking among 3 billion individuals worldwide, shows that the scourge is on the increase in most developing countries including India.

The Lancet: Tobacco use in 3 billion individuals from 16 countries: an analysis of nationally representative cross-sectional household surveys

Despite the high global burden of diseases caused by tobacco, valid and comparable prevalence data for patterns of adult tobacco use and factors influencing use are absent for many low-income and middle-income countries. We assess these patterns through analysis of data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).

The World Health Organization recommends six major steps for harm reduction, proven to reduce smoking rates, including:

  • protecting people from tobacco smoke
  • offering help to quit
  • raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco through warning labels and public education campaigns
  • enforcing tobacco advertising bans
  • raising the price of tobacco products

CNN report: Largest-ever tobacco study finds ‘urgent need’ for policy change

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