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Asian nations in early tobacco epidemic: study

Apr. 18, 2019, 10:04 AM

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

That’s the conclusion of researchers from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center after analyzing 20 prospective cohort studies from mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India.

Using long-term follow-up data from those cohorts, the study — published in JAMA Network Open — is the largest investigation in Asian countries of birth cohort-specific and county- or region-specific smoking patterns and their association with deaths.

Future deaths are likely to echo the pattern that occurred in the United States as the popularity of smoking increased during and after World War II, which resulted in lung cancer mortality peaking around 1990, said Wei Zheng, MD, PhD, Anne Potter Wilson Professor of Medicine.

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