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The Toll of Tobacco Around the World
A global tobacco epidemic
Tobacco use is the world's leading cause of preventable death, according to the World Health Organization.
Increasingly, the burden of tobacco use is greatest in low- and middle-income countries that have been targeted by the tobacco industry with its deadly products and deceptive marketing practices. The result: A global tobacco epidemic of preventable death, disease and economic harm to countries and families.
- There are more than one billion smokers in the world.
- Globally, 21% of adults are current smokers (men: 35%, women: 6%)
- More than 80% of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
- 29% of men in high-income countries, 37% in middle-income countries, and 24% of men in low-income countries are smokers.
- 18% of women in high-income countries, 4% in middle-income, and 3% of women in low-income countries smoke
- Globally, the number of youth aged 13-15 years who smoke cigarettes is estimated to be around 25 million, with almost 13 million using smokeless tobacco products.
- Cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products is increasing in many low- and middle-income countries due to population growth and tobacco industry marketing.
Tobacco Health Consequences
- 100 million people died from tobacco use in the 20th century. If the current trends continue one billion people will die from tobacco use in the 21st century.
- Tobacco use kills up to half of all lifetime users. On average, smokers lose 15 years of life.
- Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. By 2030, the number of tobacco-related deaths will increase to 8 million each year.
- Tobacco-related illnesses account for 1 in 10 adult deaths worldwide. By 2030, 80% of those deaths will be in low- and middle-income countries.
Tobacco Costs to Society
- Smoking is estimated to cause about 1.4 trillion USD in economic damage each year.
- Health care costs associated with tobacco-related illnesses are extremely high. Economic costs associated with smoking represent 1.8% of global GDP, and smoking-attributable health expenditure represents 5.7% of total health spending.
- Tobacco-related illnesses and premature mortality impose high productivity costs to the economy because of sick workers and those who die prematurely during their working years. Lost economic opportunities in highly-populated low- and middle-income countries will be particularly severe as tobacco use is high and growing in those areas.
- Tobacco production damages the environment
- Tobacco plants are especially vulnerable to many pests and diseases, prompting farmers to apply large quantities of chemicals and pesticides that harm human health and the environment
- Clearing of land for cultivation and large amounts of wood needed for curing tobacco cause massive deforestation at a rate of about 200,000 hectares per year.
Visit https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/problem/toll-global for more information on the global tobacco epidemic.
Last Updated Nov. 8, 2018