La mort et les impôts

Un tueur est en train de sévir dans les pays les plus pauvres du monde sans être inquiété. En 25 ans, il aura causé 10 millions de morts par an - plus que le paludisme, la mortalité maternelle, les infections enfantines et la diarrhée réunis . Plus de la moitié des victimes seront âgés de 30 à 69 ans, perdant environ 25 ans d’espérance de vie. Le coupable ? C’est le tabac. La même addiction devenue la principale cause de mortalité évitable dans les pays occidentaux a fait de grandes avancées dans les pays en développement. La cigarette a tué 100 millions de personnes au XXe siècle, principalement dans les pays développés. On peut présager qu’elle tuera environ un milliard de personnes au XXIe siècle, la plupart dans les pays en voie de développement.

En Inde, fumer multiplie par trois le risque de mourir de la tuberculose chez les hommes et les femmes, et peut même contribuer à la contagion de cette maladie. Bientôt, environ 1 million de personnes mourront chaque année à cause du tabac en Inde et en Chine. À moins d’un sevrage à grande échelle, un million de jeunes adultes seront peut-être décimés par le tabac rien que dans ces deux pays.

Il n’est pourtant pas gravé dans le marbre que les hécatombes du passé doivent devenir l’avenir du monde. Nous savons comment contrôler l’utilisation du tabac. Il est nécessaire que les 1,1 milliard de fumeurs actuels arrêtent de fumer afin de réduire la mortalité due au tabac au cours des prochaines décennies. Une réduction de la consommation chez les enfants permettrait de sauver des vies à partir de 2050. Arrêter de fumer est payant : les quadragénaires qui arrêtent la cigarette diminuent considérablement les risques de mourir du tabac, et ceux qui arrêtent entre 30 et 40 ans affichent des risques de mortalité due au tabac proches de ceux qui n’ont jamais fumé.

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