NEW YORK, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Cigarette smoking combined with tuberculosis appears to be far deadlier than previously believed, according to a new study in India.
The finding has important public health implications in developing countries where both are major public health problems, the New York Times said.
The study, appearing Saturday in the journal Lancet, found that smokers are four times as likely as nonsmokers to die of TB in India. The researchers estimate nearly 200,000 people die there from the disease every year because they have been smokers.
At every age, smokers in the study had twice the risk of dying as nonsmokers. The study also found Indian smokers, on average, die about 20 years earlier from all causes than they would if they did not smoke.
Smoking and TB kill an estimated 5 million people worldwide every year, according to New York Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden.