Tobacco is the clear worldwide winner when it comes to drug-related adverse health effects, according to a comprehensive review of data on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and other organizations. The “Global Statistics on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Illicit Drug Use: 2017 Status Report,” was recently published in Addiction.
Among the key findings: Worldwide, nearly one in seven adults smoke tobacco, and one in five reported at least one incidence of heavy alcohol consumption within the previous month. In 2015, tobacco and alcohol are estimated to have cost more than a quarter of a billion disability-adjusted life years overall.
According to the report, alcohol consumption and smoking rates are highest in Central, Eastern, and Western Europe, while illicit drug use is lower in these areas and higher in the United States, Canada, and Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and islands in the Pacific). There is little or no data on substance use and the related health burden in some areas of the world, such as Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia.