BETHESDA, Md--Although there is some "good news" on
the tobacco front--lung cancer deaths have declined in one US
demographic group--the bad news continues to pour in from all
over the globe, an NCI official told a symposium sponsored by
NCI and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
"One of every 10 people now alive today will die of tobacco-related
disease unless serious action is taken on a worldwide scale,"
said Thomas J. Glynn, PhD, chief of the Prevention and Control
Extramural Research Branch in the Division of Cancer Prevention
Worldwide, he said, two tobacco companies--R.J. Reynolds and Philip
Morris--have increased sales by almost 200 billion cigarettes
per year, primarily because of sales in Eastern Europe and developing
countries. China, with 23% of the world's population, has about
29% of the world's smokers.
Dr. Glynn cited WHO estimates that about 3 million people per
year are dying from tobacco-related disease throughout the world.
"Without a concerted worldwide effort, this will rise to
about 10 million per year by the year 2020," he said.
For 1995, he said, this works out roughly to six deaths every
minute from tobacco use--one person in the European Union, one
in the United States, one in the former USSR, one in the other
developed nations, one in China, and one in the developing nations.
Wasn't There Some Good News?
Even though lung cancer rates continue to rise in the United States,
"we're starting to see the first decline over the past 5
years or so" in at least one major demographic group--45-
to-54-year-old white males," Dr. Glynn said. "This is
among the group that has stopped smoking in the past 2 decades."