Asian nations sitting on early tobacco epidemic

Asian countries are in the early stages of a tobacco smoking epidemic with habits mirroring those of the US from past decades — setting the stage for a spike in future deaths from smoking-related diseases, warn researchers.

Using long-term data from cohort studies from mainland China, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, the researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, said that future deaths were likely to echo the pattern that occurred in the US as the popularity of smoking increased during and after World War II, which resulted in lung cancer mortality peaking around 1990.

“There is about a 30-year gap or incubation period for the mortality to occur. Smoking takes about 20 or 30 years to have this full effect on lung cancer mortality,” said Zheng, the study’s senior author in a paper published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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