Millions of TB-Related Deaths May Be Curbed By Quitting Smoking

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Aggressive campaigns against tobacco products in the hopes of cutting down smoking is an effective means of curbing millions of death. This was published in a research at the British Medical Journal which further said that smoking undermines one of the UN Millennium Development Goals which is to reduce deaths related to TB.

Dr. Sanjay Basu of the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco devised a mathematical model of TB epidemics in order to ascertain the effects of future smoking trends on TB control. In creating the mathematical model, the group considered factors which may affect the trend like detection of TB cases, HIV prevalence and TB treatment success rate.

According to the mathematical model, if aggressive measures against smoking are not implemented, and if the current trends persist, the rate of TB related deaths may blow out of proportion. The device projected that between the year 2010 and 2050, there may be about 18 million new cases of TB diagnosed as well as 40 million deaths.

Smoking is anticipated to slow down the achievement of the millennium development goals which aim to cut the cases of deaths related to TB by 50% between 1990 and 2015. According to Basu and his colleagues, nearly one out of every five people in the world smoke and the countries or regions where the effects of smoking are very much pronounced are Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to the researchers, aggressive campaigns against smoking can cut down the about 27 million smoking related deaths by the year 2050. They considered a theoretical 1% reduction rate each year as a result of anti-smoking campaigns. On the other hand, if the rate of smoking continues to grow exponentially to about 50% of all adults, Basu and his group predicts that 34 million more people may die from smoking-related tuberculosis by the year 2050.

In conclusion, they said that, “Tobacco smoking could substantially increase tuberculosis cases and deaths worldwide in coming years, undermining progress towards tuberculosis mortality targets. Aggressive tobacco control could avert millions of deaths from tuberculosis.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization have the following facts on their website about TB:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is contagious and airborne. It is a disease of poverty affecting mostly young adults in their most productive years. The vast majority of TB deaths are in the developing world
  • 1.7 million people died from TB (including 380 000 women) in 2009, including 380 000 people with HIV, equal to 4700 deaths a day
  • The TB death rate has fallen by 35% since 1990, and the number of deaths is also declining
  • TB is among the three greatest causes of death among women aged 15-44
  • There were 9.4 million new TB cases (including 3.3 million women) in 2009, including 1.1 million cases among people with HIV
  • The estimated global incidence rate fell to 137 cases per 100 000 population in 2009, after peaking in 2004 at 142 cases per 100 000. The rate is still falling but too slowly.




  1. God I really have to quit smoking.. These facts and stats are terrifying :(

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