(HealthDay News) – Tobacco control is estimated to have prevented eight million premature deaths since 1964 in the United States; and the prevalence of global smoking has declined since 1980, according to two studies published in the Jan. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on tobacco control.
Theodore R. Holford, PhD, from the Yale University School of Public Health in New Haven, CT, and colleagues used data from National Health Interview Surveys to model reductions in smoking-related mortality associated with implementation of tobacco control since 1964. The researchers note that an estimated 17.7 million deaths were related to smoking from 1964–2012; this is an estimated 8 million fewer premature smoking-related deaths than would have occurred before 1964 and therefore associated with tobacco control. This correlated with an estimated 157 million years of life saved, a mean of 19.6 years per beneficiary.
Marie Ng, PhD, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues used data from nationally representative sources that measured tobacco use to estimate the prevalence of daily smoking for 187 countries from 1980–2012. The researchers found that in the population >15 years there was a decrease in the global modeled age-standardized prevalence of daily tobacco smoking from 1980–2012 (41.2–31.1% for men and 10.6–6.2% for women). The rate of decline was faster from 1996–2006 than for the subsequent period. Despite the decline in prevalence, the number of daily smokers increased from 721 to 967 million.
“Since 1980, large reductions in the estimated prevalence of daily smoking were observed at the global level for both men and women, but because of population growth, the number of smokers increased significantly,” Ng and colleagues conclude. “As tobacco remains a threat to the health of the world’s population, intensified efforts to control its use are needed.”