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Poor nations contribute bulk of world smokers

Ch. Prashanth Reddy

GUNTUR, Sept. 6

THE number of smokers in the world is estimated to increase from the current level of 1.1 billion to 1.6 billion by 2025. Though there is a decline in the consumption of cigarettes in the developed countries, smoking is increasing in the developing natio ns.

According to the Visakhapatnam-based Gitam Institute of Foreign Trade (GIFT), 80 per cent of the smokers today live in low and middle-income countries. Smoking as a habit has decreased in the high-income group adults but is on the rise in the teenagers a nd young women of the developed world and among the adult men in the developing countries.

GIFT stated that worldwide, people with low level of education were found to smoke more cigarettes than people with higher education levels. Similarly, high-income countries have more people, about 30 per cent men, who had quit smoking than the low-incom e countries like China and India where those who had quit smoking accounted for two cent and five cent respectively.

While eight out of 10 smokers in the developed countries started smoking during their teens, in the developing countries, people got habituated to smoking during their early twenties. GIFT says that it is unlikely that an individual takes up smoking if h e did not start it before the age of 25 years.

Increased awareness of health hazards among the people and heightened anti-smoking campaigns in the developed countries had led to decline in the consumption of tobacco. While 55 per cent of the men in the US smoked during the mid 20th century, their per centage has declined to 28 by mid-1990s.

The world cigarette production has also dropped from its peak of 1,027 sticks per person in 1990 to a 34-year low of 915 sticks last year. About 70 per cent of the world cigarette production takes place in the UK, the US and China while 60 per cent of th e consumption is in Japan, Russia, Germany, China and the US.

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