World Lung Foundation's policy paper series on lung health issues.
“Directions” white papers are conceived by WLF Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Neil Schluger and written by Karyn Feiden.
W. Schluger, M.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, World Lung Foundation, and Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University
Tuberculosis is a global killer, claiming the lives of more than two million people annually and sickening millions more. Tobacco plays an enormous role in that calamity.
Smoking increases the risks of becoming infected with tuberculosis, of developing the active form of disease, and of dying from it. In other words, it increases the risk at each stage of the disease. Alarmingly, children and other non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke share many of those risks.
Well over three billion people, half of those who dwell on earth, cook daily with biomass fuels, which include firewood, twigs and grass, crop residue, and animal dung. These energy sources are cheap and readily available in the mostly poor and rural regions where they are widely used. But they are inefficient and highly polluting, and the evidence of their destructive impact on human health is overwhelming. An estimated 1.96 million deaths occur every year, including 871,500 deaths from childhood pneumonia alone, as a result of exposure to biomass fuels. ...
Recently, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in research projects to develop new drugs, diagnostics and vaccines for tuberculosis. However, no laboratory advance will save even one of the millions facing death this year and next . . .
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