Cigarette smoking seen threat to third world

Cigarette smoking, increasing in the third world as it begins to abate in many Western nations, threatens to become a major new health hazard for developing countries, a UN agency said Monday.

Dr. Halfdan Mahler, head of the World Health Organization, said smoking was probably the largest preventable cause of ill health in the world and called for greater and more sustained efforts to beat the cigarette habit.

While there was a significant switch in rich countries to low-tar and filter cigarettes, manufacturers were selling cigarettes under the same labels in the third world containing up to four times as much of the dangerous tars, the UN reported.

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