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Tobacco use could kill 1.5 million in India by 2020, report says

Published: 1:57 pm CDT, September 13, 2013

Despite numerous smoke-free and anti-tobacco laws, India tobacco controls are not being well implemented, says an international report released on Thursday.

The result is that the ravages of tobacco could kill 1.5 million in India each year by 2020, if more people don’t kick the habit, said the report released Thursday by the International Tobacco Control Project.

“A combination of factors including low levels of awareness of the risks of tobacco use, partial rather than comprehensive smokefree legislation, poor enforcement of existing smokefree laws and the relative affordability of tobacco means that few current tobacco users say they are ready to quit,” the report says.

The TCP India Survey conducted face to face interviews with 8,000 tobacco users and 2,400 non-tobacco users.

India has an estimated 270 million tobacco users. Public health experts have long warned that tobacco use also  imposes severe financial stress on families and a huge economic burden on the nation. India’s last estimated direct healthcare costs of tobacco in 2004 at about $1.7 billion.

Worldwide, the number of deaths caused by tobacco is expected to rise from 5.4 million a year now to more than 8 million by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

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