Global estimates suggest that almost one in seven adults (15.2%) smoke tobacco and one in five adults report at least one case of heavy drinking last month. It is an alarming number. Scientists say that tobacco and alcohol pose a greater threat to human health worldwide than the consumption of all other addictive, illicit drugs, including cannabis and opioids.
A study published in Addiction magazine showed that drinking and consuming tobacco in 2015 cost the human population more than a quarter of a billion disability-adjusted years, with illegal drugs costing another ten million.
Researchers, including those from the University of New South Wales in Australia and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, found that the biggest health burden of substance use is due to smoking and the least due to illicit drugs
] The reasons for smoking There are many: it causes immense damage to the lungs, increases the risk of heart problems and skin diseases. A study earlier this year found that smoking and alcohol consumption could increase your risk of developing a fast heart rate called atrial fibrillation. This in turn can lead to a stroke, dementia, heart failure and other complications. Also, those who smoke and drink heavily will probably age faster and look older than their contemporaries.
Interestingly, people who quit smoking also start to drink less alcohol.
Compared to the rest of the world, Central, Eastern and Western Europe recorded consistently higher per capita alcohol consumption (1
In contrast, the use of illegal drugs was far less common. In the past year, less than one in twenty people have consumed cannabis and significantly lower estimates have been found for amphetamines, opioids and cocaine. Hotspots included the US, Canada and Australasia.
In some countries and regions (eg Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia), there is little or no data on drug use and the associated health burden. These are typically low- and middle-income countries that are often punishable with drug policies and can experience serious political and social unrest.
(Contributed by Press Trust of India)
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