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Cutting Solid-Fuel Use, Smoking Could Save Millions of Lives

An estimated 32 million deaths in China could be averted in next 25 years with complete cessation

MONDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 32 million deaths in China over the next 25 years could be averted by phasing out household solid-fuel and eliminating smoking, according to an article published online Oct. 4 in The Lancet.

Hsien-Ho Lin, M.D., of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues analyzed representative data sources to assess historical trends in smoking and domestic solid-fuel use and to project future scenarios of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer mortality, as well as incidence of tuberculosis.

Assuming smoking and solid-fuel rates in 2033 are the same as those in 2003, there will be a predicted 65 million deaths from COPD and 18 million deaths due to lung cancer in China, with the combined effects of household solid-fuel use and smoking accounting for 82 percent and 75 percent of cases, respectively, the researchers found.

"Complete gradual cessation of smoking and solid-fuel use by 2033 could avoid 26 million deaths from COPD and 6.3 million deaths from lung cancer," the authors write. "Interventions of intermediate magnitude would reduce deaths by 6 to 31 percent (COPD) and 8 to 26 percent (lung cancer). Complete cessation of smoking and solid-fuel use by 2033 would reduce the projected annual tuberculosis incidence in 2033 by 14 to 52 percent if 80 percent DOTS [directly observed treatment, short-course] coverage is sustained."

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