Egypt has one of the highest rates of smokers in the world, the country’s health minister said on Tuesday.
Adel El-Adawy said during a speech at a ministry conference on the economy of the tobacco industry that 24.4 percent of Egyptians smoke tobacco.
The minister said that tobacco was one of the main causes of deaths from non-infectious diseases in Egypt, killing at least 170,000 people per year from lung cancer, other forms of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.
El-Adawy also said that 46 percent of adult men in Egypt smoke tobacco, while the number of female smokers had increased recently.
Some of the studies released at the meeting, which was conducted jointly with the World Health Organisation and the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, show that the illegal market for tobacco products in Egypt was worth around LE20 billion annually.
The total tax loss for the Egyptian treasury was calculated at LE3.6 billion.