Editor: Chronic diseases are now prevalent worldwide. We wanted to provide you with a snapshot of the spread of tobacco globally, its effects on global health, and efforts by states to mitigate tobacco’s harms.
Tsight of someone pulling out a cig in the middle of a crowded Borders café would be bizarre. And if that someone were bold enough to “light up,” furrowed stares would immediately laser all through the café. Indignant whispers would swish around the room. Finally, the café barista will walk over and gently ask the perpetrator to please go outside, 20 feet away from the store, to smoke.
But careful! Situated directly across from Borders is Marshalls, and 90 degrees to Borders and Marshalls is Target, all of which require the distance of at least 20 feet between the smoker and each respective building. As the smoker huddles outside in the winter cold, puffing away in his one allotted square foot, the patrons in Borders stare out at him through frosty big windows as if he’s some rare zoo specimen in its natural (and small) habitat.
California is not a friendly place to smokers.
The same setting transported to Shanghai, China would render a different image. The ostracized man looking sadly in at the warm, laughing people inside will have no cigarette because, in China, the oddball is the non-smoker concerned with inhaling.
This man is probably an American.
Very few quirks expose the American in foreign lands better than when they start warning others in the dangers of smoking. Actually, there is: when they start warning about second-hand smoking.
It’s hard to understand the kind of anti-smoking culture that exists in California if you don’t live in California. For most of the world, the attitude toward smoking is more akin to the one in Shanghai than in San Francisco and the fervent anti-smoking vibe of California is met, more or less, with eye rolls. After all, everyone smokes.
And in the coming decades, that statement is about to become more true. Tobacco use is rising fast and strong, and soon, the ubiquitous slim, white cylinder will soon be hanging from more eager mouths than ever. The “everybody does it” mentality can create a false sense of comfort, so it may surprise people to know that tobacco has silently become the single deadliest, yet preventable, killer in the world.
We went over the World Health Organization’s Report On The Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008 1. The report was released as part of the MPOWER package, and is a very comprehensive overview of the status of global tobacco use and prevention methods. We’ve pulled out some of the most relevant information and reproduced the graphs for you. Enjoy our comprehensive overview of their comprehensive overview.
Did you know…
Tobacco Death Toll : Quick Facts
6 seconds a person dies from tobacco use
5 million annual deaths due to tobacco, more than AIDS+TB+malaria combined
10 % percentage of adult deaths worldwide attributable to tobacco
8 million projected annual death due to tobacco use by 2030, if unchecked
100 million tobacco-related deaths in the 20th century
500 million people currently still alive who will die from tobacco, if current trends continue
1 billion estimated tobacco-related deaths in the 21st century
80 % percentage of tobacco deaths that will be exclusively in low-income countries by 2030
100 million Chinese men currently under age of 30 who will die from tobacco use
24 % percentage of adults worldwide addicted to tobacco
21 People who do not start smoking before the age of 21 are unlikely to ever begin smoking
33-50% percentage of people prematurely killed by tobacco [an average of 15 years early]
90 % percentage of lung cancers caused by tobacco
40% of countries lack protection of children from second-hand smoke in schools.
430 cases of sudden infant death syndrome
1900 pre-term deliveries
3400 lung cancer deaths
24500 low-birth-weight babies
46000 heart disease deaths
200000 episodes of childhood asthma
Tobacco & Economic Impact on the Poor
50 million Chinese people impoverished from medical costs due to smoking
10 % percentage of total household expenditure spent on tobacco among the poorest in Egypt
1000 % percentage of money spent more on tobacco than education among the poorest in Bangladesh
15 % percentage of total household expenditure spent on tobacco among the poorest in Indonesia
11 % Percentage of total household expenditure spent on tobacco among the poorest in Mexico
$10 billion cost of second-hand smoking in the U.S.
$81 billion annual health-care cost of treating tobacco-related problems in the U.S.
$92 billion annual loss of economic opportunities due to tobacco-related deaths in the U.S.
$156 million annual cost of direct medical care, long-term care, and productivity loss due to second-hand smoking in Hong Kong.
Tobacco control is not expensive. Tobacco taxes increase government revenues and enforcement of smoke-free laws and advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans do not require large expenditure.
A 70% increase in price could prevent up to a quarter of all smoking-related deaths worldwide.
(i)Tobacco cessation advice incorporated into primary health-care services
(ii)Easily accessible and free quit lines
(iii)Access to low-cost pharmacological therapy
- WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008:
The MPOWER package.
Geneva, World Health Organization, 2008. ↩