News / Health

Study Says Tobacco Smoking Fuels TB Epidemic

A recent report from the World Health Organization noted that for the first time, the number of people falling ill and dying from tuberculosis is declining.  But with nearly one fifth of the world's population today still smoking tobacco, and with millions more exposed to second-hand smoke, progress against TB could be undermined.  That's the conclusion of a new study that predicts smoking will contribute to an additional 34 million TB deaths by 2050.

The World Health Organization's efforts to control the spread of tuberculosis have focused mainly on detecting and treating active TB infections around the world.  Far less effort has gone toward addressing the causes of this highly contagious respiratory disease.  Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes the campaign against this global killer would be strengthened if we understood more clearly why people get sick with TB in the first place.

“Despite our control efforts - you still have more than a million people each year dying from TB and millions and millions getting infected. We realize that it's still a very important problem. So we have to do the practical thing (treating people) and we have to do the fundamental research things at the same time,” Fauci said.

A new study of the worldwide TB epidemic by researchers at the University of California in San Francisco concludes that tobacco use, which by itself is a major public health concern, is also an important factor that's working against TB control efforts.

“What this paper shows is that there is a false dichotomy, that you can’t control tuberculosis if you don’t control tobacco use,” said Dr. Stanton Glantz, co-author of the study and director of the University of California's  Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. He and his colleagues note that smoking does not cause tuberculosis. TB is caused by a bacterium. But smoking depresses the immune system and makes it more likely that a person with a latent lung infection will develop an active and potentially deadly case of TB.

“It (first- and second-hand smoking) increases the number of people who will get tuberculosis by about 7 percent. It increases the number of people projected to die from tuberculosis between now and 2050 by about 26 percent,” Glantz said.

Glantz believes his study, the first to identify this direct link between tobacco use and TB infection and mortality rates, should be of great interest to health policy makers and those guiding TB control programs.

“Bottom line: if you want to control the infectious disease of TB, you have to control the tobacco industry and the tobacco industry’s efforts to increase tobacco use, particularly in developing countries where TB is a big problem,” Glantz said.

Dr. Glantz's study predicts that in parts of the developing world where TB is already endemic, the situation will get worse if tobacco companies continue to expand their markets.  It concludes that aggressive tobacco control measures will enable these countries not only to curb the emphysema, heart disease and lung cancer associated with smoking tobacco, but also to avert the millions of additional deaths from tuberculosis.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid