Ahead of the UN “World NO Tobacco Day”, these are some facts and figures about tobacco that may interest you.
315 million people of China’s 1.3 billion people are smokers. The Chinese have the highest number of smokers in the world; and consume more than a third of cigarettes produced worldwide, according to WHO.
Cigarette is not as harmless as it seems as it is responsible for more deaths in the 20th century than those recorded in two world wars. It causes ten deaths every minute and 11 million cigarettes are smoked every minute.
According to WHO estimates, around one billion people are smokers; this is about a seventh of the world’s population. Indonesia is ranked number one with the highest percentage of smokers at 76% of men aged over 15.
The good news is that the percentage of smokers in the world has dropped in 25 years according to a report in the Lancet medical journal in April 2017. It discovered that one in four men and one in twenty women smoked tobacco daily in 2015; down from one in three men and one in twelve women in 1990.
However, the bad news is that the reduction of smoking rates in some countries are offset by increases in other countries with weak tobacco control regulations, in particular, sub-Saharan Africa.
There have been recorded decreases in places like, Britain, Brazil and Australia, where regulations include health warnings, bans and higher taxes; but Electronic cigarettes have also been introduced into the market. China and France have also recorded reduction in number of smokers generally, according to Euromonitor International market research group.
Leading Cause of Preventable death
The human cost of tobacco use is very high as it is the leading cost of preventable death in the world.
Seven million people die every year as a result of active or passive smoking; and it is responsible for the death of one person every six seconds.
Tobacco consumption is linked to heart attacks, Cancers, strokes and lung disease. It is estimated to have caused the death of more than 100 million people over the 20th century; more than the estimated 60-80 million deaths and 18 million deaths, during World War II and World War I respectively.
It could account for up to one billion deaths in the 21st century at the current run rates, according to WHO analysis.
In 2012 $1.436 billion was spent globally on healthcare due to smoking related issues; and this was about six percent of the spending on health care and almost two percent of world GDP, according to a study in the scientific journal of Tobacco Control.
Tobacco is big business
Despite its toxic nature, tobacco is still massively cultivated and produced; because it is big business and there is still so much vested interest. About 4.3 million hectares of land (10.6 million acres) is used for the cultivation of tobacco globally. This is an area roughly about the size of Switzerland.
Cigarette manufacturing companies also generate more than $680 billion annually from sales, according to Euromonitor.
China leads in the production of tobacco, cultivating roughly 40 percent of world’s leaves, says the Tobacco Atlas.
The world tobacco market is controlled by five firms who have 80% market share; and these made a profit of more than $62 billion in 2015.
About 5.7 trillion cigarettes are smoked annually,nearly 11 million every minute, according to The Tobacco Atlas.