International collaboration could reduce smoking prevalence, researchers find

December 7, 2017 by Sheena Rice
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 80 percent of the world's more than 1 billion smokers live in low-and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is the heaviest. Despite the high smoking rates in these countries, little research has been completed comparing smoking rates across countries with different economies. In a new study comparing smoking rates and regulations between the U.S. and Turkey, Mansoo Yu, associate professor of social work at the University of Missouri, found the rate of current smoking is higher in Turkey at 27 percent compared to the U.S. at 18 percent. Additionally, he found the cessation rate is higher in the U.S. at 25 percent compared to 22 percent in Turkey. The researchers hope the findings from this comparison can help health officials and policymakers find ways to reduce global tobacco use.

"Tobacco-related illness is a global public health problem," Yu said. "Understanding the variables from country to country will help global health leaders collaborate on effective interventions to further reduce overall prevalence. To compare scale of economies, we chose the U.S. to represent a wealthy nation and Turkey as the low-income nation."

Yu worked with Jenna Wintemberg, assistant teaching professor in the MU School of Health Professions, and Ozge Karadag Caman from Hacettepe University in Turkey. They compared data from the 2012-2013 National Adult Tobacco Survey to gather information for the U.S. and the 2012 Global Adult Tobacco Survey for Turkey.

To understand how to reduce smoking, the researchers also compared tobacco interventions in both countries where viewing health warnings led to decreased . While the U.S. used text labels, Turkey implemented graphic health warning labels on tobacco products in 2010, leading to an increase in people thinking about quitting. Participants in Turkey also were more likely to report seeing a warning on a pack of cigarettes in the past 30 days compared to U.S. participants.

"Given that smoking rates remain prevalent in Turkey despite the graphic warnings, we can guess that people become used to them over time," Yu said. "As a policy, regularly changing the could be one way to make the graphic images more effective in reducing smoking. Likewise, the U.S. could implement graphic images attached to cigarettes instead of text warnings as a tool in tobacco control."

Researchers also found that restricting smoking in personal spaces, such as homes and vehicles, could help prevent people from smoking. Due to Turkey's national law restricting smoking in all public spaces, the country also has more regulations in place to prohibit smoking in personal spaces. For example, Yu says that in Turkey some apartment buildings and cab companies are going smoke-free as a result of the national law.

"Interestingly, Turkey has a national smoke-free law, while the U.S. has no such law and only half the states have comprehensive laws aimed at smoking," Yu said. "Despite the lack of a national law, the U.S. has a lower rate of tobacco use. This could be due to the U.S. having greater access to cessation products and services, which have been found to help people successfully quit."

"Health warnings, smoking rules and : A cross-national comparison of Turkey and the United States," was published in Substance Use and Misuse. The School of Social Work is a department in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences.

Explore further: Smoke-free policies help decrease smoking rates for LGBT population

Related Stories

Smoke-free policies help decrease smoking rates for LGBT population

May 1, 2017
Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking among lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) ...

Smoking down, number of lives saved up as more countries embrace tobacco control measures

December 12, 2016
Between 2008 and 2014, more than 53 million people in 88 countries stopped smoking due to tobacco control measures, which means that more than 22 million smoking-related deaths have been averted, say researchers at the Georgetown ...

Global anti-smoking measures quadruple since 2007: WHO report

July 19, 2017
Warnings about the dangers of smoking and restrictions on tobacco use have quadrupled worldwide since 2007, but more needs to be done to curb this deadly habit, the UN health agency said Wednesday.

Higher tobacco taxes needed to reduce smoking rates in South Asia, new analysis says

April 11, 2017
Higher taxes on tobacco could reduce consumption in South Asia by at least one-third and avoid 35-45 million premature deaths, concludes an analysis published today in The British Medical Journal.

Philippines may soon make smoking warnings graphic (Update)

June 10, 2014
A Philippine legislative committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would compel cigarette manufacturers to print illustrations of smoking hazards on cigarette packs to curb smoking in a country where tens of thousands die ...

Recommended for you

Searching for a link between achy joints and rainy weather in a flood of data, researchers come up dry

December 13, 2017
Rainy weather has long been blamed for achy joints. Unjustly so, according to new research from Harvard Medical School. The analysis, published Dec. 13 in BMJ, found no relationship between rainfall and joint or back pain.

Mistletoe and (a large) wine: Seven-fold increase in wine glass size over 300 years

December 13, 2017
Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today - if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have ...

How well can digital assistants answer questions on sex?

December 13, 2017
Google laptop searches seem to be better at finding quality online sexual health advice than digital assistants on smartphones, find experts in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Healthy eating linked to kids' happiness

December 13, 2017
Healthy eating is associated with better self-esteem and fewer emotional and peer problems, such as having fewer friends or being picked on or bullied, in children regardless of body weight, according to a study published ...

Owning a pet does not seem to influence signs of aging

December 13, 2017
Owning a pet does not appear to slow the rate of ageing, as measured by standard indicators, suggest the authors of a study published in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Increased air pollution linked to bad teenage behavior

December 13, 2017
A new study linking higher levels of air pollution to increased teenage delinquency is a reminder of the importance of clean air and the need for more foliage in urban spaces, a Keck School of Medicine of USC researcher said.

0 comments

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.