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50 3. 1. TOBACCO CONSUMPTION According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world, and is directly responsible for about one in ten adult deaths world wide, equating to about 5 million deaths each year (WHO, 2002a). It is a major risk factor for at least two of the leading causes of premature mortality – circulatory diseases and a range of cancers. In addition, it is an important contributory factor for respiratory diseases, while smoking among pregnant women can lead to low birth weight and illnesses among infants.

Trends in suicide rates, selected OECD countries, 1980-2004 -61 -45 -44 -41 -39 -36 Korea OECD Japan Hungary Spain Deaths per 100 000 population 45 40 -24 -24 -22 -22 -20 -16 -16 -15 -12 -9 -8 35 30 25 20 3 15 7 8 11 14 15 10 5 41 50 -80 -40 0 40 0 80 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 Percentage change Source: OECD Health Data 2007. The raw mortality data have been extracted from the WHO Mortality Database, and age-standardised to the 1980 OECD population. 1787/113587303211 HEALTH AT A GLANCE 2007: OECD INDICATORS – ISBN 978-92-64-02732-9 – © OECD 2007 33 2.

Indeed, the increase in the birth of very small infants was cited as the main reason for the first increase since the 1950s in infant mortality rates in the United States between 2001 and 2002 (CDC, 2003). For deaths beyond a month (post neonatal mortality), there tends to be a greater range of causes – the most common being SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), birth defects, infections and accidents. 3). This equates to a cumulative reduction of over 80% since 1970. 2). Large reductions in infant mortality rates have also been observed in Korea.

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