Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Smoking and solid fuel use in homes in China projected to cause millions of deaths

Large-scale interventions needed to reduce disease burden

If current levels of smoking and biomass and coal fuel use in homes continues, between 2003 and 2033 there will be an estimated 65 million deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 18 million deaths from lung cancer in China, accounting for 19% and 5% of all deaths in that country during this period.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) predict that the combined effects of these two major factors alone will be responsible for more than 80% of COPD deaths and 75% of lung cancer deaths in China over a 30-year period. But interventions to reduce smoking and household use of biomass fuels and coal for cooking and heating could significantly reduce the number of deaths.

The findings are from a study that will appear online on October 4, 2008 and in the October 25, 2008 print issue of The Lancet. It is the first quantitative analysis to look at the combined effects of smoking and household fuel use on COPD, lung cancer and tuberculosis (TB).

Respiratory diseases are among the 10 leading causes of deaths in China. About half of Chinese men smoke and in more than 70% of homes in China residents cook and heat their homes with wood, coal and crop residues. Smoking and pollution from indoor burning of these fuels are major risk factors for COPD and lung cancer and have been linked with tuberculosis (TB). Globally, more than 900 million of the world's 1.1 billion smokers currently live in low-income and middle-income countries and about one half of the world's population uses biomass fuels and coal for household energy.

Using data on smoking, fuel use and current as well as projected levels of COPD, lung cancer and TB, the authors set out to estimate the effects of modifying smoking and fuel use on future COPD and lung cancer deaths and TB incidence. They grouped the results into scenarios based on whether interventions involved moderate control of smoking and fuel use, aggressive control or a complete cessation of exposures to the pollutants.

They found that reducing those two risk factors would significantly decrease deaths from COPD and lung cancer. If smoking and biomass and coal use were to be eliminated gradually over the next 30 years, an estimated 26 million COPD deaths (40% of projected COPD deaths) and 6 million lung cancer deaths (34% of projected lung cancer deaths) would be avoided. For moderate and aggressive control scenarios, deaths from these diseases could be reduced by an estimated 17% to 34% among men and 18% to 29% among women. There will also be major benefits for TB, above and beyond those that can be achieved through treatment.

Hsien-Ho Lin, a graduate student in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and the lead author of the study, said "this analysis shows that smoking and fuel use, which affects hundreds of millions of people in China, will be a defining feature of future health in that country."

Policy responses and specific interventions could help reduce the enormous disease burden from smoking and household fuel use. In the article, the authors suggest that at the national level, for example, authorities could create regulatory and economic policies that reduce smoking and promote clean household fuels. At the individual level, TB patients could be offered tobacco cessation programs.

"There are proven ways to reduce tobacco smoking and to provide homes with clean-burning energy alternatives. China can save millions of premature deaths from respiratory diseases in the next few decades if it leverages its effective policy system to implement these interventions," said Majid Ezzati, associate professor of international health at HSPH and senior author of the study.

"Effects of smoking and solid-fuel use on COPD, lung cancer, and tuberculosis in China: a time-based, multiple risk factor, modelling study," Hsien-Ho Lin, Megan M Murray, Ted Cohen, Caroline Colijn, Majid Ezzati, The Lancet, online October 4, 2008.

Harvard School of Public Health ( is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights.

Todd Datz | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Biomass COPD China residents HSPH Tuberculosis household energy lung cancer risk factor

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>