With a last-week report in The Lancet highlighting that tobacco use in developing nations is showing "alarming patterns," since tobacco intake in these countries is witnessing an over 3 percent increase every year, health experts have warned that poor countries, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, are apparently on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe because the industry was fast losing grip in these areas.
Going by the industry projections, the Asia-Pacific region has emerged as the biggest tobacco market in the world, with nearly 6 million new smokers having been added in 2009, and a further addition of around 30 million likely by
According to the figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the current year will probably see a total of 6 million tobacco-related deaths, with the developing countries likely to report a whopping 80 percent of these deaths.
The figures are rather disquieting, particularly in the wake of the fact that approximately two-thirds of men in Asian countries are smokers, and women and children too are increasingly taking up the habit --- an unsettling contrast to the nearly `one percent per year' drop in the adult smoking rate in Australia, which has the lowest adult smoking rate in the world.
Noting that the cigarette companies have clearly perpetrated a ''tobacco holocaust'' with their aggressive targeting of the developing nations, Prof Mike Daube - a WHO tobacco control adviser and president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health - has described the tobacco industry as "an industry absolutely without a moral radar."
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