Puffing kills. But a new study, led by an Indian-origin researcher, claims that mobiles phones are more dangerous than fags.
"Though mobiles can save lives in emergencies, there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours (which can lead to cancer)."
"It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking," the study's lead author Dr Vini Khurana was quoted by The Independent newspaper as saying.
Smoking kills some five million worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organisation.
But Dr Khurana, who has based the findings on an analysis of over 100 researches on the effects of cell phones, said the radiation from mobiles could kill far more people than smoking.
"We are currently experiencing a reactively unchecked and dangerous situation. This will be definitively proven in the next decade," he said.
The leading cancer expert said that people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take "immediate steps" to reduce exposure to their radiation.
"Unless the industry and governments take immediate and decisive steps, the incidence of malignant brain tumours and associated death rate will be observed to rise globally within a decade from now, by which time it may be far too late to intervene medically," according to him.
However, the Mobile Operators Association has dismissed Dr Khurana's study as "a selective discussion of scientific literature by one individual".