Smoking could lead to 40 million TB deaths by 2050

Smoking could potentially contribute to the tuberculosis deaths of 40 million people worldwide by 2050.

According to a new study published in the journal BMJ, smoking could produce 18 million new TB cases in the next 40 years, CBS News reports.

Researcher Dr. Sanjay Basu and his team demonstrated how tobacco and TB are linked by creating a mathematical model of TB epidemics. By computing the impact of tobacco on TB cases and deaths, the team determined that smoking is a risk factor for the illness.

Their calculations have shown that, if not properly controlled, the number of global TB cases could rise by seven percent for the next four decades, from 256 million to 274 million infections. The number of deaths contributed to TB could rise by 66 percent, from 61 million to 101 million.

Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia are most at risk to be affected by smoking-related TB cases.

In addition, the researchers also examined the effects of an overall decrease in the rate of tobacco use. If smoking rates were aggresively lowered, TB deaths linked to the habit could potentially decrease by 27 million by 2050. Aggressively lowered was defined by the study as a one percent decrease every year until smoking is eliminated.