Tobacco leading cause of disease by 2015 says WHO

In collaboration with the Press Association

Tobacco-related health problems such as cancer and heart disease will claim 6.4 million lives a year by 2015, new research from the World Health Organisation has estimated. The figure is half again the death toll of HIV/AIDS.

The study estimated the global incidence and mortality of major diseases in 2015 and 2030, projected forward on current trends.

Tobacco is estimated to cause ten per cent of all deaths by 2015, rising from the current 5.4 million annual deaths to 6.4 million. By 2030 an estimated 8.3 million will be killed by tobacco.

With long-term declines in tobacco-attributable deaths expected in the developed world, the majority of these will take place in low and middle-income countries, which will experience 6.8 million of the total annual tobacco deaths by 2030.

While the global death toll of infectious diseases is set to decrease over the period, the number developing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease will rise to 70 per cent of overall deaths, it added.

The study has been published in the journal the Public Library of Science Medicine.