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D. Tobacco Use: A Global Epidemic

Narrator: This is Science Today. According to the World Health Organization, every year there are 4.9 million deaths related to tobacco. It is also estimated that globally tobacco kills half of its regular users. Kirk Smith, professor and chair of environmental health sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, says with these figures on the rise, the tobacco epidemic could become a more critical threat than AIDS or malnutrition.

Smith: Tobacco, shortly according to World Health Organization's estimates, it will be the chief cause of ill health in the world, and maybe by 2010. It will exceed malnutrition as the most important cause of ill health in the world. That depends a bit on what happens with the AIDS epidemic, but HIV or AIDS might be first, but nevertheless, tobacco will exceed malnutrition for the first time in human history.

Narrator: Consequently the World Health Organization has called for all nations to promote tobacco prevention through increased taxation, advertising bans and indoor air pollution regulations. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.