Today a new landmark in global health knowledge and evidence was released. After five years and the collaboration of 500 scientists and researchers from around the world, the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) http://www.thelancet.com/themed/global-burden-of-disease has been published in The Lancet. Thanks to dramatic achievements in health over recent decades the world has seen a drop in deaths from infectious diseases and a dramatic rise in life expectancy. Yet these impressive gains in health are being undone by the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which now account for nearly two out of every three deaths worldwide in 2010. Of the 52.8 million deaths in 2010, NCDs account for 34.5 million or 65.5%.
Most significantly, tobacco smoking, the leading risk factor for NCDs has been recognized as the 2nd leading cause of death globally. The report states that tobacco smoking causes 6.3 million deaths annually.
While people are living longer, the report suggests that populations are not necessarily enjoying more years of health. Disability is taking a greater toll on our lives than they were two decades ago and increasingly people are living with chronic illnesses and multiple comorbidities. Tobacco is a major contributor to this problem.