Saturday, May 19, 2007

yet this woman, and millions like her, remain targets

5% Reduction in Smoking Could Save 100 Million Lives

A 5 percent worldwide reduction in the number of smokers by 2020 would save at least 100 million lives, according to a study by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden.

Currently, about 25 percent of adults (one billion people) in the world are smokers. Reducing that to 20 percent can be achieved by increasing tobacco taxes, expanding smoke-free zones, banning tobacco advertising, and helping people kick the habit, said the study. It noted that a number of countries have already cut adult smoking levels to less than 20 percent, Agence France-Presse reported.

Special focus must be made on educating smokers and would-be smokers in developing nations about the dangers of tobacco, Bloomberg and Frieden said. They pointed out that two-thirds of smokers live in 15 low- or middle-income nations and that 50 percent live in just five countries -- China, India, Russia, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

"Keeping rates low is especially important for the large population of young women in Asia and elsewhere who do not currently smoke but are targeted by the tobacco industry," according to the study, which was published Friday in The Lancet medical journal.

Bloomberg is an ex-smoker who spent $125 million of his own money to start a Worldwide Stop Smoking Initiative last year, AFP reported.