Smoking claimed 320m lives against HIV’s 40m in 40 years
A latest study on the global impact of HIV and smoking established that smoking killed 320 million people over the past 40 years, while HIV and AIDS claimed 40 million lives during the same period.
A celebrated Canadian epidemiologist, physician and public health expert, Mark Tyndall, conducted the study to understand the effects smoking has had on populations around the world.
In his presentation titled “Contradictions in the health debate around vaping” made at the 2022 Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN22), Tyndall said people with untreated HIV may die quicker than smokers, but decades of good health are lost for people who smoke cigarettes.
“Fear and stigma remain high among people with HIV despite it being around for 40 years. But stigma for smokers is also quite high. Speak to anyone who smokes, and they will give you stories of abuse and ridicule from complete strangers,” he said.
Apart from being an epidemiologist, physician and public health expert, Tyndall is a Harm Reduction Consultant, a Community Activist and an early advocate for the harm reduction programme which was at the forefront of North America’s first legally sanctioned supervised injection facility, INSITE, established in Vancouver in 2003.
He stated that the poor, marginalized and minority groups are the ones mostly impacted by HIV and smoke-related diseases around the world.
Tyndall also observed that there is over 80 percent advancement on HIV treatment against less than 1 percent of treatment advancement for smoking-related diseases.
“On drug policy and structural violence, I observed that it is easier to recognize structural violence in society because we have created a situation where people are forced to use drugs that are illegal, making them criminals and basically excluding them from society. We have justified destroying people’s lives because we don’t like the drugs that they take. This is the carnage left by the war on drugs.”
“We are fighting for people who do not have a voice; for those who are dying from smoking cigarettes. Now it is complicated because these are people who like smoking cigarettes and we don’t feel overly compelled to fight for their right to smoke,” he said.
Tyndall has also worked as a harm reduction consultant for the Vaping Industry Trade Association (VITA), Canadian Vaping Association (CVA), Rothmans, Benson and Hedges Inc. (RBH).