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10 Facts On Tobacco And Second-Hand Smoke

World Health Organisation

Fact 1
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the world. It causes 1 in 10 deaths among adults worldwide. In 2005, tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths, or an average of one death every 6 seconds. The death toll is projected to reach more than 8 million by 2030 if current trends continue.

Fact 2
Tobacco kills up to half of its regular users. On average 29% of people around the world are smoking tobacco. Smoking is more common among men – 47.5% of all men smoke compared to 10.3% of women.

Fact 3
More than 80% of the world’s more than one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Unless urgent action is taken, by 2030, more than 80% of tobacco related deaths will occur in the developing world

Fact 4
Tobacco caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century. If current trends continue, there could be up to one billion deaths in the 21st century.

Fact 5
The smoke produced by burning tobacco products is known as second-hand tobacco smoke or environmental tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke in enclosed spaces is breathed by everyone, exposing both smokers and non-smokers to its harmful effects. This is commonly referred to as involuntary smoking or passive smoking.

Fact 6
Second-hand tobacco smoke is dangerous to health. There are about 4000 known chemicals in tobacco smoke. Second-hand smoke also causes heart disease and many serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in adults which can lead to death.

Fact 7
An estimated 700 million children, or almost half of the world’s children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home. Second-hand smoke causes many serious diseases in children and worsens conditions such as asthma.

Fact 8
The International Labour Organization estimates that at least 200 000 workers die every year due to exposure to smoke at work. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that second-hand smoke is responsible for about 3000 lung cancer deaths annually among non-smokers in the country.

Fact 9
Exposure to second-hand smoke also imposes economic costs on individuals, businesses and society as a whole, in the form of direct and indirect medical costs and productivity losses.

Fact 10
There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. Neither ventilation nor filtration, even in combination, can reduce the exposure indoors to levels that are considered acceptable. Only 100% smoke-free environments provide effective protection.

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