Tobacco in Asia: addiction spreads faster than information

In an article on the battle to curb smoking worldwide, The Economist reports that “the number of smokers in China, India and other developing countries is continuing to grow, as addiction spreads faster than information.”

But we have good news from New York City: health commissioner Tom Frieden reports that the mayor’s anti-smoking efforts “reduced smoking among the adults in New York by 20% and among teenagers in public schools by 50%.”

How can we stop the pro-smoking trends in Asia? In the article (linked above) the WHO recommends six things we should be doing globally to curb tobacco use.

One thing that surprised me about this article: the WHO insists most smokers don’t understand the full negative effects of smoking.

This is sad — the tobacco companies are winning a race to get young people addicted to their products before governments can reach them with information they need. I agree with the WHO that people essentially need to be bombarded with anti-smoking information in order to “get it” and grasp how harmful smoking is. This needs to happen before addiction sets in which means the anti-smoking campaigns need to target our youth around the world, especially in poor countries.


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