*I See Dead People Everywhere

In 2008 the World Health Organisation estimated that there are 6.7 billion people on earth and of these 57 million died – this is 8.4%. Actuarially speaking this means that if you lived on earth in 2008 you had an 8.7% chance of dying. This would not have changed much since then.

Demography is a very important component of economics. If you have to allocate the scarce resources then it is important to understand the population structure. This is one reason for including this section in this book.

A very large part of the anti-smoking activities revolve around death. Statistics are quoted in all kinds of contexts and often on a non-comparable basis. Sometimes the way these statistics are quoted depends on what the author wants to prove, and mostly it is very difficult to get hold of comparative statistics. This is another reason for this section in the book having a look at the statistics of the WHO – even if it makes for boring reading material.

In the past 50 years the businesses globalised. Mega-corporations, which until recently, have their head offices in the USA and Europe spread their business into every corner of the world where there was money to be made.  Theodore Levitt published a paper titled … which argued that the people of the world have really become so similar that companies can apply the same marketing strategy in all countries.

The global companies mostly interpreted this to mean that everybody wants to be like the Americans (they meant USA when they say this) and therefore want to have the American brands – Coca cola, Pepsi, McDonalds, Ford, etc.

More recently this view has changed and there is some acceptance that local markets have local needs and that the company brand offering should accommodate this. Nigel Hollis published a book The Global Brand which is based on research and which demonstrate the fallacy of companies being mindlessly global.

In this book we are looking at the anti-smoking policies and the economics thereof, and possibly the first statistic from the WHO data on how people die should be to address the issue of globalisation of policies.

The first thing you would notice is that your chances of dying in 2008 would have differed depending in where you lived. Since you are reading this you are one of the 91.6% of people that did not die.

Cause

Population (000)

TOTAL Deaths %
         WORLD (b)

6 737 480

 56 888

8.4%

AFRICA

 804 865

 10 125

12.6%

THE AMERICAS

 915 430

 6 170

6.7%

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

 580 208

 4 198

7.2%

EUROPE

 889 170

 9 223

10.4%

SOUTH-EAST ASIA

1 760 486

 14 498

8.2%

WESTERN PACIFIC

1 787 321

 12 674

7.1%

If you lived in Africa there was a bigger chance that you would have died, nearly twice as much as it would have been had you lived in the Americas. Europeans had nearly as good a chance to die as Africans.

What you would have died of, had you died in 2008, would have differed dramatically between the regions. Here is the table for “…”.

Cause

Population (000)

TOTAL Deaths

%

I. Communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies

%

         WORLD (b)

6 737 480

 56 888

8%

 15 637

27%

AFRICA

 804 865

 10 125

13%

 6 577

65%

THE AMERICAS

 915 430

 6 170

7%

  723

12%

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

 580 208

 4 198

7%

 1 524

36%

EUROPE

 889 170

 9 223

10%

  532

6%

SOUTH-EAST ASIA

1 760 486

 14 498

8%

 5 033

35%

WESTERN PACIFIC

1 787 321

 12 674

7%

 1 248

10%

If you lived in Africa, and died in 2008, there is a 2/3rd chance that it was of “Communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies”. If you died in Europe or the Americas the chances are negligible that this would have been the cause.

These numbers are high for Africa because 1,3million, or 13% of the people that died, died of HIV/AIDs. A further 9% died of a Diarrhoeal disease and 7% died of Malaria.

South-East Asia’s death toll for this category of disease is really due to 7% Diarrhoeal diseases.

This then brings us to your chances of having died in 2008 (if you died) of cancer, and specifically of lung cancer.

Cause

Population (000)

TOTAL Deaths

%

Malignant neoplasms

%

   Trachea/bronchus/lung cancers

%

         WORLD (b)

6 737 480

 56 888

8%

 7 583

13%

 1 387

2.4%

AFRICA

 804 865

 10 125

13%

  407

4%

  16

0.2%

THE AMERICAS

 915 430

 6 170

7%

 1 193

19%

  248

4.0%

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

 580 208

 4 198

7%

  315

8%

  25

0.6%

EUROPE

 889 170

 9 223

10%

 1 872

20%

  376

4.1%

SOUTH-EAST ASIA

1 760 486

 14 498

8%

 1 135

8%

  136

0.9%

WESTERN PACIFIC

1 787 321

 12 674

7%

 2 660

21%

  588

4.6%

If you are concerned about dying of cancer, or specifically lung cancer, then you should have moved to Africa or South-East Asia where your chances of dying of this is negligible. In Africa only 16 000 people died of lung cancer, so it is not just a percentage issue, but the absolute number is very low.

. However, if you lived in the Americas, Europe or Western Pacific you had a very good chance of dying of cancer, but in all three cases still a considerably greater chance of dying of ““Communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies” than you had of dying of lung cancer.

If you lived in the Americas in 2008 you might wonder what form of dying you did not die of.

Cause

Population (000)

TOTAL Deaths

%

Cardiovascular diseases %
         WORLD (b)

6 737 480

 56 888

8%

 17 327

30.5%

AFRICA

 804 865

 10 125

13%

 1 254

12.4%

THE AMERICAS

 915 430

 6 170

7%

 1 944

31.5%

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

 580 208

 4 198

7%

 1 195

28.5%

EUROPE

 889 170

 9 223

10%

 4 584

49.7%

SOUTH-EAST ASIA

1 760 486

 14 498

8%

 3 616

24.9%

WESTERN PACIFIC

1 787 321

 12 674

7%

 4 735

37.4%

If you are worried about not dying of a heart attack – which is mostly mercifully quick and relatively painless – then you should not move to Africa. It would be advisable to move to Europe.

EVERYBODY DIES

It is a well known fact that everybody does die, the question really is just when and how. We have already seen that the where does differ.

In fact, the answer to the when and how does depend on whether you are male or female – there genders are prone to different causes.

 

Male

Cause

 

 

Total

%

0-4

5-14

15-29

30-44

45-59

60-69

70-79

80+

Total

All Causes

56888289

7.6

1.2

3.2

4.9

8.8

8.4

10.6

8.8

53.5

Not surprisingly most people that died (55.5%) in 2008 were over the age of 60 – i.e. beyond retirement for most people.

Males:

Cause

 

 

Total

%

0-4

5-14

15-29

30-44

45-59

60-69

70-79

80+

Total

All Causes

56888289

7.6

1.2

3.2

4.9

8.8

8.4

10.6

8.8

53.5

Communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions

15637399

27.5

6.8

0.6

0.8

1.5

1.4

0.9

1.0

0.9

14.1

A. Infectious and parasitic diseases

8721166

15.3

2.9

0.4

0.7

1.4

1.2

0.6

0.6

0.4

8.2

1. Tuberculosis

1341771

2.4

0.1

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.4

0.2

0.1

0.0

1.5

3. HIV/AIDS

1776270

3.1

0.2

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.4

0.1

0.0

0.0

1.6

4. Diarrhoeal diseases

2464425

4.3

1.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

2.1

8. Malaria

826908

1.5

0.6

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.7

B. Respiratory infections

3533652

6.2

1.3

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

3.2

C. Maternal conditions

361361

0.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

D. Perinatal conditions (e)

2603140

4.6

2.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

2.4

E. Nutritional deficiencies

418081

0.7

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.3

Noncommunicable diseases

36121871

63.5

0.6

0.2

0.7

1.9

6.1

6.9

9.2

7.6

33.2

A. Malignant neoplasms

7583252

13.3

0.0

0.1

0.1

0.4

1.7

1.8

2.1

1.2

7.4

7. Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers

1387460

2.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.2

1.7

B. Other neoplasms

188227

0.3

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

C. Diabetes mellitus

1255585

2.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.2

0.3

0.2

1.0

D. Endocrine disorders

318248

0.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.3

E. Neuropsychiatric conditions

1310002

2.3

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.1

0.2

0.3

1.1

F. Sense organ diseases

3763

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

G. Cardiovascular diseases

17326646

30.5

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.7

2.6

3.2

4.4

4.0

15.3

2. Hypertensive heart disease

1153308

2.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.9

3. Ischaemic heart disease

7254444

12.8

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.3

1.4

1.5

2.0

1.6

7.0

4. Cerebrovascular disease

6151884

10.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.8

1.1

1.7

1.4

5.2

Other cardiovascular diseases

2144252

3.8

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.2

0.4

0.6

1.6

H. Respiratory diseases

4233863

7.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.5

0.9

1.3

1.2

4.1

1. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

3278168

5.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.4

0.7

1.1

1.0

3.2

I. Digestive diseases

2206300

3.9

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.3

0.7

0.4

0.4

0.3

2.3

J. Genitourinary diseases

1021935

1.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

1.0

K. Skin diseases

74138

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

L. Musculoskeletal diseases

167814

0.3

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

M. Congenital anomalies

428161

0.8

0.3

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.4

N. Oral conditions

3937

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Injuries

5129018

9.0

0.3

0.4

1.6

1.4

1.2

0.5

0.4

0.3

6.2

So, out of the 56888289 male deaths world wide in 2008, 53.5 were male; 7.4% were males that died of cancer and 1.7% were males that died of lung cancer. And 1.2% were males that died after the age of 60 of lung cancer. Some of these died of lung cancer without smoking – smoking only increases the risk of dying of lung cancer. It is not the sole cause of lung cancer, nor does a dying of lung cancer mean it was due to smoking necessarily.

Even if the ban on cigarette advertising is 100% effective in ceasing smoking and thereby the death rate of people dying of lung cancer is reduced then it will only be reducing a portion of 1.2% of all deaths!

In places like Africa it will have an effect on even a smaller portion of deaths!

One wonders whether the effort and money spent on trying to reduce smoking, if this is done to decrease death rates, could not be better applied?

 

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