2010 is the Year of the Lung. It is interesting to see such a broad view taken of health conditions that affect the lung, for they are many and various - both infectious and non-infectious.
In many cases different health threats conspire to attack the lungs. The use of tobacco can worsen infectious conditions, for example tuberculosis. Analyses have suggested that a considerable proportion of the global burden of TB may be attributable to smoking. It seems likely that the recovery of patients receiving TB treatment will be held back if they use tobacco.
Surprisingly little is known as to how many TB patients use tobacco. Researchers in Malaysia (1) asked over 800 people receiving TB treatment whether they were users of tobacco. They found that 40% were current users and 14% had used tobacco at some point in their lives. They estimate the prevalence of ever-smoking among patients with TB to be 54,220 per 100,000 population. From conversations with the TB patients the researchers conclude that most of them had “deficiencies in knowledge of tobacco use and its health dangers”.
Efforts to control tuberculosis must clearly include action to discourage smoking.
1. Awaisu A et al. (2010). Tobacco use prevalence, knowledge, and attitudes among newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients in Penang State and Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tobacco Induced Diseases; 8:3.