In order to compare the impact of tobacco on cancer risk across different countries in Asia, we abstracted the estimated adult (age 30 years and above) deaths attributable to tobacco for all-malignant neoplasm, trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, and all other malignant neoplasms from the WHO Global Report entitled Mortality Attributable to Tobacco, which was recently published in 2012. In this publication, WHO region and country-specific death rate per 100 000 and proportion attributable to tobacco (%) in 2004 are available by age and sex. We selected for evaluation all-malignant neoplasm (ICD-10 code: C00–97), trachea, bronchus and lung cancers (C33–34) and all other malignant neoplasms (C00–97 except for C33–34).

Figures 1 and 2 show overall death rates and death rates attributable to tobacco by country in Asia for all-malignant neoplasm, trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, and all other malignant neoplasms in males and females, respectively. Crude rates and the proportion of mortality attributable to tobacco are presented.

Figure 1.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for males. Each bar shows the death rate by country and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

Figure 1.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for males. Each bar shows the death rate by country and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

Figure 2.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for females. Each bar shows the death rate by country and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

Figure 2.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for females. Each bar shows the death rate by country and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

For males, the death rate attributable to tobacco was the highest in Japan and Korea for all-malignant neoplasm, lung cancers and all other malignant neoplasms. In China, the rate and proportion of tobacco-related death were the lowest at 22% for all-malignant neoplasm, 55% for lung cancer and 11% for all other malignant neoplasms. In Bangladesh, the death rates attributable to tobacco were moderate in Asia; however, the proportions of deaths for all-malignant neoplasm and for all other malignant neoplasms attributable to tobacco were remarkably high, and were 65 and 49%, respectively.

For females, not only Japan and Korea, but also Bangladesh and Thailand, had high rates of tobacco-related deaths for all-malignant and lung cancers. India and Pakistan showed low death rates attributable to tobacco for trachea, bronchus and lung cancers at 0 and 3%, respectively. The mortality attributable to tobacco in China is moderate but the proportion of tobacco-related deaths for malignant neoplasm was relatively low though it was not obviously low in males.