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Tobacco trends suggest challenges ahead

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A lung conference on Friday put a spotlight on trends in tobacco around the world. Health experts estimate, for example, that smoking-related deaths in China will climb to two million each year by 2020 unless the country does more to curb tobacco use. Stamping out cigarettes might be a real drag on the country’s budget, though, as tobacco taxes generate a reported 7.6 % of Chinese central government revenues.

In Africa, the World Health Organization has stepped in to reduce smoking-related deaths, announcing the launch of a new campaign last week with $10 million in funding from the Gates Foundation. But even if the battle against smoking is won, there are other challenges ahead. In the US, the number of smokers has dropped 20% in the past 15 years, but a 48% rise in obesity over the same period may have offset the health benefits across the population.

Posted on behalf of Christian Torres, Nature Medicine news intern

Image by Abdullah AL-Naser via Flickr Creative Commons

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