Smoking could lead to 40 million excess tuberculosis deaths by 2050

October 5, 2011, British Medical Journal

Between 2010 and 2050, smoking could be responsible for 40 million excess deaths from tuberculosis (TB), according to research published in the British Medical Journal today.

The study, led Dr Sanjay Basu from the University of California, used a mathematical model to determine the effect of smoking on future rates. The research finds that because smoking increases the risk of contracting TB, there will be 18 million more cases worldwide between 2010 and 2050.

Once develop the disease, they are more likely to die from it, meaning that smoking can single-handedly undermine the Millennium Development Goal to reduce TB mortality by half between 1990 and 2015, say the authors. They add, however, that "aggressive could avert millions of deaths from tuberculosis

It is established, say the authors, that smoking tobacco is a TB risk factor. They add that nearly one fifth of the world's population smokes and that most cigarettes are smoked in countries with high TB prevalence and where the has expanded its market. Given this, the authors wanted to predict how much impact smoking will have on future TB rates.

The research team developed a to investigate the issue. Similar models have previously been used for HIV, TB detection systems and , but not smoking.

In their analysis, the authors found that smoking may have a substantial impact on future TB rates because a moderate increase in individual risk translates into a large population-level risk because so many people smoke.

The results show that from 2010 to 2050 worldwide smoking could lead to 40 million excess TB deaths (from 61 to 101 million). They also conclude that if current smoking trends continue, the number of excess TB cases could rise from 256 to 274 million - 18 million new cases in total.

Furthermore, the authors found that the number of people with current TB infections may be falsely reduced by smoking. This is because smoking can kill so many people with TB that the number of people living with TB is reduced by smoking, even though smoking also causes a rise in new cases.

According to Basu's model the African, Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asian regions would experience the greatest increase in new TB cases attributable to smoking.

The authors argue that "aggressively lowering the prevalence of tobacco smoking could reduce smoking attributable deaths from tuberculosis by 27 million by 2050".

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Marijuana use may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment

December 4, 2017
Many patients who are being treated for opioid addiction in a medication-assisted treatment clinic use marijuana to help manage their pain and mood symptoms.

For opiate addiction, study finds drug-assisted treatment is more effective than detox

November 23, 2017
Say you're a publicly insured Californian with an addiction to heroin, fentanyl or prescription narcotics, and you want to quit.

Study finds medical cannabis is effective at reducing opioid addiction

November 17, 2017
A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use ...

Insomnia linked to alcohol-use frequency among early adolescents, says new psychology study

November 8, 2017
Insomnia is linked to frequency of alcohol use among early adolescents, according to new Rutgers University–Camden research.

Large declines seen in teen substance abuse, delinquency

October 25, 2017
More than a decade of data indicates teens have become far less likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine and illicit drugs, and they also are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, such as fighting and stealing, according ...

Trying to get sober? NIH offers tool to help find good care

October 3, 2017
The phone calls come—from fellow scientists and desperate strangers—with a single question for the alcohol chief at the National Institutes of Health: Where can my loved one find good care to get sober?

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 07, 2011
The number of people receiving iron fortified foods FAR outweighs the number of people who smoke.
"Iron availability is integral to the pathogenesis of other infections (e.g., tuberculosis, malaria)"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.