Smoking Deaths Rocket in India
Study predicts 1 million will die annually from tobacco-related illnesses
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2008 11:05 AM CST
A laborer smokes in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008. India is in the grips of a smoking epidemic that is likely to cause nearly a million deaths a year by 2010, more than half of them among...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tobacco use is the smoking gun in 900,000 deaths annually in India, and the numbers are on the rise as the nation grapples with its epidemic-scale cigarette addiction, reports the BBC. At least 1 million Indians will die annually from smoking-related illnesses in the next decade unless the nation takes action soon, warns a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

With roughly 120 million Indian smokers, cigarettes and hand-rolled bidi will soon account  for 20% of all male deaths and 5% of all female deaths between the ages of 30 and 69. "I am alarmed by the results of this study," said India's health minister. He announced an effort to control the problem, "in particular by informing the many poor and illiterate of smoke risks."