Smoking continues to be a leading cause of death worldwide, a recent report published in The Lancet medical journal showed, citing findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study.
The study found that out of more than 6.4 million people globally, every 10th death was as a consequence of tobacco consumption. It found that deaths increased by 4.7 percent between 1990 and 2015. Half of these deaths occurred in China, India, the United States and Russia.
Marlene Mortler, drug commissioner of the Federal German Government, noted a positive trend in smoking habits in the country’s 2016 drug and addiction report. The number of people aged 18 to 25 who have never smoked went up from 23.1 to 38.8 percent from 2001 to 2015, and only 7.8 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds smoke.
“We want to sustainably continue this positive trend of dropping numbers of smokers,” Mortler said, demanding a stop to advertising for tobacco products.
While the proportion of people around the world who smoke has dropped to 15.3 percent, the actual number of smokers has increased from 870 million in 1990 to 933 million in 2015. This can be attributed to the increasing world population. Worldwide, every fourth man (25 percent) — yet only 5.4 percent of women — smoke regularly.
In Germany, there are 16.3 million smokers and while the proportion of male smokers is similar to the global average, the proportion of women smoker is much higher — one in five German women smokes. Also, every seventh death in Germany can be accredited to smoking — which is much higher than the global average.
The fact that the number of smoking-related deaths is increasing, while the percentage of smokers has decreased, is due to the large number of people in Germany who began smoking during the 1950s and 1960s and are now entering an age when the risk of succumbing to a tobacco-related disease increases, according to Ute Mons, head of the Cancer Prevention Unit at the German Cancer Research Center.