Increased cigarette smoking worldwide will result in a 50% rise in lung cancer deaths by the year 2000, according to a study released Saturday.
More than 1 billion people in the world smoke cigarettes at an average rate of more than half a pack a day, said the study by the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
Cigarette smoking is increasing worldwide at a rate of 2.1% a year, the study said.
Growth of Habit
Because smoking's health hazards appear only after years of exposure to smoke, the continued growth of the habit will mean increased illness in years to come, the study said.
"Tragically, the cost in lives and money can only be expected to grow," the study said. "Seventy-three percent more tobacco is consumed now than 20 years ago, so without a sudden drop in smoking, lung cancer deaths, for example, will almost certainly increase by 50% by the turn of the century. Many such losses will occur in nations totally unprepared to deal with the new epidemic.
"It follows, too, that the incidence of bronchitis and emphysema will grow as tobacco use grows," the study said. "At the current rate the next 20 years would also witness an increase of 50% in these diseases."
Effort to Ban Tobacco
The study, conducted by senior researcher William U. Chandler, is titled "Banishing Tobacco" and argues for that goal. But the study says the world has a long way to go to reach it.
Despite a perception in the United States of a drop in smoking, total cigarette consumption has declined in only a few countries worldwide--and the United States is not one of them.
While the percentage of U.S. adults who smoke has dropped from 43% to 32% since 1964, those who continue to smoke consume 20% more tobacco than smokers did 20 years ago, the study said.
Greece leads the world in per capita cigarette consumption, the study says, followed by Japan, the United States, Canada, Yugoslavia and Poland.