New Delhi: A new study has estimated that 100 million people have died due to smoking in India over the last 100 years, and the worst apparently is yet to come. Nearly 4.52 trillion cigarettes and 40.3 trillion beedis have been produced in 100 years, between 1910 and 2010 in India, according to a new study published in the journal Current Science. And in an even more shocking revelation, the study has estimated nearly a 100 million premature deaths in India, as a result of smoking in the last 100 years.
The study found that in the first 50 years between 1910 and 1960, more than 5.5 trillion beedis and 52.7 billion cigarettes were manufactured and smoked. Researchers believe these smokers mostly died in a span of the next 40-50 years.
But researchers have warned that the larger part of the epidemic is yet to occur. That is because in the last 50 years, from 1960 to 2010, smoking rates went up four times - and these are estimated to cause a large number of deaths in the next 50 years.
Study Author Dr Nevin Wilson said, "Smoking is estimated to cause 78.8 million deaths till 2050." Another study author Dr PC Gupta said that if this continues, we will see more than 200 million deaths within this century.
Presently, India has 111 million smokers, but public health experts warn of a larger health epidemic in the 164 million Indian smokeless tobacco users. Gutka is known is causing 90 per cent of all oral cancers and is responsible for the maximum number of young heart attacks, Gupta said.