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.
Tobacco’s Toll in Health and Lives
- Tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century. If current trends continue, tobacco will kill one billion people in the 21st century.
- Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people a year and accounts for one in 10 deaths among adults.
- If current trends persist, tobacco will kill more than 8 million people worldwide annually by the year 2030, with 80 percent of these deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
- Almost a billion men in the world – including half of men in low- and middle-income countries – and 250 million women smoke. If no action is taken, 650 million smokers alive today will eventually die from tobacco-related diseases.
- Tobacco kills prematurely. On average, smokers lose 15 years of life, and up to half of all smokers will die of tobacco-related causes.
- Every day, 80,000 to 100,000 young people around the world become addicted to tobacco. If current trends continue, 250 million children and young people alive today will die from tobacco-related diseases.
- Secondhand smoke kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year, including 165,000 children.
Tobacco’s Economic Toll
- Tobacco use costs the world an estimated $500 billion each year in health care expenditures, productivity losses, fire damage and other costs.
- Health care costs associated with tobacco related illnesses are extremely high. In the United States, annual tobacco-related health care costs amount to 96 billion USD ; in Germany, 7 billion USD; in Australia, 1 billion USD.
- 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 developing countries will be particularly severe as tobacco use is high and growing in those areas.
- Countries that are net importers of tobacco leaf and tobacco products lose millions of dollars a year in foreign exchanges.
- Fire damage and the related costs are significant. In 2000, about 300,000 or 10 percent of all fire deaths worldwide were caused by smoking and the estimated total cost of fires caused by smoking was 27 billion USD.
- Tobacco production and use damage the environment and divert agricultural land that could be used to grow food.
Other Key Facts
- The top five cigarette-consuming countries are China, Russia, United States, Japan and Indonesia. China consumes more than 35 percent of the world’s cigarettes, with 53 percent of males smoking.
- Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco are the world’s four largest multinational tobacco companies. The largest state tobacco monopoly is the China National Tobacco Corporation, which has the largest share of the global market among all companies.