Alcohol And Tobacoo Are The Biggest Threat To Our Lifespan And Human Welfare, Amidst All Other Addictive Drugs

By on May 17, 2018
tobacco

We probably just had a smoke or are gearing up for a drink later this evening, because hey, these are legal substances that are commonplace in most societies, right? I mean if we have enough and more ‘illegal’ substances to worry about, such as marijuana or ecstasy or cocaine, so why bother worrying about something that is so acceptable is society.

Well, Alcohol and tobacco use have cost humans more than a quarter of a billion disability—adjusted life years, suggests a recent study.

The study analysed the impact these substances had in terms of disability-adjusted life years or DALY (a measure commonly used to assess health cost). A DALY can be explained as a loss of a year of a healthy life.
Ironically, the study found that both these commonly consumed substances take a significant amount of the burden of death and disease, more than all other illicit drugs.

The research compiles the best, most up-to-date source of information on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use and the burden of death and disease. The data was primarily obtained from the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The researchers found that tobacco cost the world 170.9 million DALYs while alcohol cost 85 million DALYs in 2015 in comparison to illicit drugs that only accounted for 27.8 million!
What this indicates is that the damage caused by illegal drugs overshadowed by the overwhelming damage caused by alcohol and cigarettes.

Here are some of the other staggering stats the researchers were able to assimilate:

-Global estimates suggest that nearly one in seven adults (that’s 15.2 percent) smoke tobacco and one in five adults reported at least one occasion of heavy alcohol use in the past month.

-Compared with the rest of the world, Central, Eastern, and Western Europe recorded consistently higher alcohol consumption per capita (11.61, 11.98 and 11.09 litres, respectively) and a higher percentage of heavy consumption amongst drinkers (50.5, 48.2, and 40.2 percent, respectively).

-The same European regions also recorded the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking (Eastern Europe 24.2 percent, Central Europe 23.7 percent, and Western Europe 20.9 percent).

-In contrast, the use of illicit drugs was far less common. Fewer than one in twenty people were estimated to use cannabis in the past year, and far lower estimates were observed for amphetamines, opioids and cocaine.

-Some countries and regions (Africa, Caribbean and Latin America, Asia regions) have little or no data on substance use and associated health burden.

Typically, low or middle-income countries frequently have punitive drug policies and may experience serious political and social unrest. These countries need enhanced monitoring because they are at risk of rapid escalation in substance use and related health burden.

The study “Global statistics on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use: 2017 status report” was published in the journal Addiction.

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