12 Charts That Show How Tobacco Is Destroying The World

Tobacco use is one of the deadliest epidemics in history, with projections that it will kill one billion people in the 21st century.

Despite strong anti-smoking programs in America and other high-income countries, tobacco consumption is still rising around the world. Even in the U.S., smoking rates remain resiliently high among the poor. People keep smoking even as studies show that the habit kills half of its users.

To show just how bad tobacco is, we’ve pulled charts from the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation’s Tobacco Atlas and the World Health Organisation’s reports on Global Health Risks and The Global Tobacco Epidemic.

Tobacco will kill 1 billion people during the 21st century, if current trends continue.

In some countries, including the U.S., tobacco causes more than 20% of deaths in people over 30.

Tobacco use is second only to high blood pressure as a health risk factor.

Smokers consumed 5.9 trillion cigarettes in 2009, enough for every person alive to smoke 865.

In places like Russia and China, the average person smokes thousands of cigarettes per year.

The tobacco epidemic is getting much worse in the developing world.

Smoking rates in low- and middle-income countries could rise for decades before peaking.

Women, who smoke less in most countries, could see an even more dramatic rise in smoking rates and deaths in lower-income countries.

Boys ages 13 — 15 smoke at rates of 30% or more in some countries, and even in the U.S. around 10% of them smoke.

Today’s girls ages 13 — 15 smoke nearly as much as boys, which points to alarming future growth among adult female smokers.

Smokeless tobacco accounts for a significant and growing portion of global tobacco use, especially in South Asia. It is also deadly.

Big Tobacco is capturing a growing share of the global market.

Global tobacco share


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