Smoking and its side effects cost the world’s economies more than $1 trillion and kill about 6 million people each year — with deaths expected to rise by more than a third by 2030, according to a new report from the World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute. Those losses exceed annual global revenue from tobacco taxes, estimated to be $269 billion in 2013-14, according to the report. Of that, less than $1 billion was invested in tobacco control.

A look at cause of death in rural U.S.

Rural Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer and the three other leading causes of death than their urban counterparts, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those five top causes of death — heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke — accounted for 62 percent of the total 1.6 million deaths in the U.S. in 2014. Among rural Americans, more than 70,000 of the deaths were potentially preventable, the study found, including 25,000 from heart disease and 19,000 from cancer.

Eating red meat may cause diverticulitis

Diverticulitis, inflamed pouches in the lining of the digestive tract, can lead to severe pain and may even require surgery. A new study suggests that one cause of diverticulitis may be eating red meat. Researchers used data on 46,461 male health professionals in a continuing study that began in 1986. By 2012, they found 764 cases of diverticulitis. After controlling for other health and lifestyle factors associated with the disorder, they found that compared with those in the lowest one-fifth for total red meat consumption, those in the highest one-fifth had a 58 percent increased risk for diverticulitis.

Heartburn meds may increase asthma risk

Taking heartburn medicines during pregnancy may increase the risk for asthma in the baby, a review of studies has found. The analysis, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, combined data from eight studies that included more than 1.6 million patients. Follow-up ranged from five to 14 years. Researchers found that H2 blockers, such as Pepcid or Tagamet, were associated with a 46 percent increased risk for childhood asthma. Taking proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec or Nexium, was linked to a 30 percent increase in risk. There was also some data suggesting an increased risk for skin allergies. The reason for the connection is unclear, but animal studies suggest the drugs may interfere with digestion, leaving undigested food allergens that are passed on to the fetus.

News services