Despite the efforts of health organizations and anti-smoking campaigners around the globe, tobacco use is still on the rise. You might find this a bit puzzling since we’ve seen a decrease in tobacco use among younger populations but it is true – at least on a global level – but smoking facts and statistics available from major international research centers are quite conclusive.
The decrease in smoking is a recent trend that we’re seeing in Western, developed countries but even there, anti-smoking campaigns are barely making a dent.
Consider the follow facts about smoking:
- Only 6.2% of smokers manage to completely kick the habit every year
- 5400 young adults light their first cigarette every single day – in the U.S. alone
On a sample of 1 million smokers, this means that 62,000 will quit in a year. That’s not bad until you do some math and see that they’ll be replaced in less than 13 days by new smokers. Even if three-quarters of those who are just starting out never light a second cigarette things are not looking good – we’re still adding a bit less than half a million new smokers to the equation every year.
Of course, this particular piece of math is oversimplified but the real numbers are not far from it.
Smoking is having a detrimental effect not only on people’s health but also on the community at large, on the economy, on the healthcare system, on the environment. The number of diseases that occur from tobacco abuse is beyond count right now – numerous cancer types, tuberculosis, every imaginable lung disease under the sun, just to name a few.
Smoking Statistics – Terrifying Look at a Legal Life-Taking Industry
How much do you actually know about smoking – the adverse effects it actually has on your health and the health of those around you? Take a look at the death toll that can be attributed to tobacco usage today.
How Many Lives Does Smoking Claim Every Year?
It’s scary to think that tobacco is responsible for more deaths than AIDS and a number of other diseases we were thought to be really afraid of. To date, tobacco remains the only consumer product legally sold that kills people when used as intended!
- Smoking-Related Mortality: Smoking kills over 6 million people worldwide every year. And this is just data that is reported. Since we lack statistics about smoking from third-world countries it’s easy to assume that the actual number is much higher.
- Smoking-Related Fires: Fires that can be attributed to smoking kill 620 people in the U.S. every year.
- Smoking-Related Diseases: Every 6 seconds a person dies from a tobacco-related disease.
- Smoking-Related Lung Cancer: 353 people die of smoking-related lung cancer every day in the United States.
- Global Mortality Rate: If current trends continue, tobacco will claim 1 billion lives worldwide in the 21st century.
It’s estimated that nearly a third of young adult smokers will die of tobacco-related diseases. But that is not the worst of it. Tobacco is a leading cause of cancer and numerous other diseases that can have a debilitating impact on quality of life.
Smoking Facts: Health Risks of Tobacco Use
Tobacco abuse affects every single organ in the human body. Your heart and lungs are in the most immediate danger but the nervous system is also at risk and so are your eyes. Tobacco has been shown to lead to cataracts, which is an eye condition deemed to be the number one cause of blindness in the world.
- Heart Disease: Smokers have a 2–4 times higher chance of suffering from heart disease or having a stroke than non-smokers. Both conditions can lead to serious complications and death.
- Lung Cancer: Both men and women have a 25 times higher chance of developing lung cancer as a result of smoking.
- Heart Failure: Smoking causes your blood vessels to thicken. This makes it harder for you heart to pump out blood and can lead to deadly heart failure. The condition is noticeable even among smokers who smoke less than five cigarettes a day.
- Blood Clot: Since smoking greatly diminishes blood circulation there is a greater chance of clots forming – those clots can severely jeopardize your limbs and extremities and lead to amputations. Diabetics are a particularly vulnerable group.
- Cancer: Tobacco use has been found to cause cancer in most major organs and systems in the human body, from cervix all the way up to the soft palate.
- Pregnancy: Smoking makes it more difficult for women to get pregnant. It also increases the risk of preterm delivery, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, and SIDS – also known as crib death.
- Diabetes: Active smokers have a 40% higher chance of developing diabetes. In addition to that, active smoking makes it harder to control and manage the disease.
- Gum Disease: Smoking leads to gum disease and can contribute to tooth loss.
And the list just goes on. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 out of 3 cancer-related deaths could have been avoided if tobacco wasn’t involved. Close to 8 million people die of cancer every year – more than 2.5 million would live if tobacco usage was eradicated.
These mortality and health facts related to smoking are scary. However, there are other tobacco-related figures that are equally chilling and they put in perspective just how intertwined this industry is with a number of disturbing consequences that are happening both to people and to the environment.
Facts about Tobacco and Pollution
The tobacco industry is one of the largest polluters on the planet. Some scientists go as far as to suggest that tobacco smoke is more harmful to the environment than diesel fuels.
- Pesticide Pollution: Tobacco doesn’t magically appear in stores – it has to be grown. Since it is a relatively delicate plant it has to be treated with pesticides and herbicides more often than fruits or vegetables. All of these toxins end up in the soil and some even end up in your drinking water. A rough estimate says that over 27 million pounds of pesticides are used to treat tobacco every year.
- Cigarette Butt Pollution: It is estimated that over 4.5 trillion cigarette butts end up filling our landfills every single year – if we’re lucky. Most of them end up in soil and water…and pretty much everywhere else around us.
- Toxic Waste: In 2012, tobacco processing facilities released over 1,685,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into the environment in the United States alone.
- Deforestation: One pack of cigarettes costs less than $5 in the U.S. (price may vary in different states). However, 15 packs of cigarettes cost more than $75 and one tree. Close to 600 million trees are cut down every year to make room for tobacco fields.
Facts about Cigarette Ingredients
It’s mind-boggling what goes into a cigarette or its smokeless alternative. From rat poison to rocket fuel, smokers are ingesting substances that were never meant for human consumption.
- Carcinogens: Cadmium, chromium, arsenic, polonium-210, benzene, and beryllium are just some of the carcinogens that can be found in tobacco smoke. The real kicker – we have no idea which brands use them.
- Cyanide: Hydrogen cyanide is a potent poison used by exterminators to lay waste to colonies of mice on a regular basis. Smokers can expect to find it in their favorite brand of cigarettes.
- Nicotine: Nicotine, the stuff that makes you physically crave a cigarette or other tobacco products, is as addictive as heroin.
- Toluene: Toluene is added to tobacco products on a regular basis. It’s also used to manufacture explosives.
Tobacco and Advertising Statistics
Tobacco usage would possibly be a thing of the past by now if it wasn’t supported by Big Tobacco dollars. Unfortunately, it’s supported by numerous companies around the globe who are not shy about throwing huge amounts of money into advertising, skewing the facts, and misrepresenting the data.
- Tobacco Advertising: $26 million is spent every single day on tobacco advertising. That’s close to $9 billion per year and it’s only growing.
- Advertising to Teenagers: Some tobacco companies still sell their products in pink and teal packages. Why? Because 15 to 18-year old teenagers are attracted to those colors.
- Advertising Near Schools: Tobacco companies can advertise near schools – they’ve won that particular right in a courtroom.
- Donations: Philip Morris once donated $125,000 to a food charity. Wall Street Journal estimates that they’ve spent over $22 million advertising that particular act of selflessness.
These smoking statistics are horrendous and to make matters worse, we’ve just scratched the surface in this article. There are currently 1 billion active smokers in the world which is roughly 15% percent of the human population.
Browse our website to get more information about how smoking and tobacco addiction is jeopardizing your health – and the health of those around you – and learn how to help yourself quit smoking as soon as possible.
- Smoking’s Death Toll
- WHO – Tobacco Statistics
- Smoking-Attributable Morbidity, Mortality, and Economic Costs
- CDC – Tobacco Effects
- CDC – The Health Consequences of Smoking
- Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults
- Smoking and Tobacco Use – Surgeon General’s Report 2001
- CDC – Number of Deaths from 10 Leading Causes
- Tobacco and Environment
- FTC Cigarette Report for 2012
- Cigarette Butts Are Toxic Waste
- Environmental Impact of Tobacco
- Risks Associated with Smoking Cigarettes with Low Machine-Measured Yields of Tar and Nicotine