In the 18th century, tobacco was widely used as snuff, in the 19th -snuff gave away to cigar and now to cigarette, which is considered to be 'king of all tobacco products'. Though tobacco being used has changed its form over time it is still the most sort after addictive. Smoking statistics are always shocking; approximately 15 billion cigarettes are sold each day. As seconds ticks off in the clock someone is victimized by smoking. Every eight seconds one smoker or non smoker is dying from tobacco related disease totaling to around 5 million an year. The sad part of the story is that all these death is preventable.
According to the WHO world health report (2003), there are approximately 1.3 billion people worldwide and one third of total male population smokers. Number of smokers in developed countries is dropping where as more and more people in the developing countries are taking up smoking. Every day, around 80000-1, 00,000 kids are falling into the habit, of which around half are from Asian countries. Around one of the three cigarettes is sold in China. If it goes on like this it is estimated that there would be around 1.7 billion smokers by the year 2030.
The statistics related to teen smoking shows that the mean age of starting is 11 years in US. And, around 50% of adolescent smokers are found to continue it as a habit. Children in the age group of ten should be playing with toys and cards and it is shocking to know that 30% of the children of below 10 years of age have smoked at least 1 cigarette. Advertisement, easy availability and cheap rate are considered to be the main reasons to increase teen smoking. Many teenagers try smoking so as to show off the 'cool macho' in them. The smoking habit in parents is found to increase the chance of their children taking up smoking as they grew up, as these kids consider smoking, to be a very natural thing to do. Merely half of the male high school students and 1/3 of female students are known to use smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco. In Mumbai, more than 56% of women are addicted to chewing tobacco.
Smoking kills around 5 million peoples each year which is more than death caused by AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and accidents taken together. 42% of male cancer death and 28% of female cancer death is due to smoking. Around the world, it also accounts for 25% of death from heart diseases and 75% from chronic bronchitis. An average smoker looses 5 minutes of his life on every cigarette that he smokes, that means at the end, he is going to lose at least 14 years from his life. Half of the smokers die between the ages of 35-65. In Britain, smoking accounts to far more deaths than the Second World War. Premature death of fetus can be caused due to smoking by the expecting mother and 4, 40,000 such deaths were recorded in between the year 1995 – 1999. Smoking is also increasing the number of sudden infant death syndrome.
Statistics of second hand smoking reveals that a very large number of non smokers die every year due to smoking related diseases. 50,000 of non smokers are the victims of tobacco related death. Smoking also results in up to 3,000 cases of lung cancer. 17,000 children below the age of 5 fall in the category of passive smoker breathing in the toxic polluted air. Second hand smoke increases the risk of breast cancer by a factor of 70% and lung disease by 25%.
Prolonged cigarette smoking is linked to increased risk of different cancers. It causes cancer of lung, esophagus, mouth, bladder, cervix, pancreas and kidney. Cigarette smoking of more than 20 packs a year was found to be associated with increased large adenoma risk and more than 35 packs a year with increased cancer risk. A 59% increased risk was associated with smoking more than a pack a day related to never smoking and 90% of lung cancer diagnosed was found to be linked to smoking.
Almost $160 billion is spent in America in treatment of smoker's illness, and more on cigarettes. A small move on each smoker's part can bring dramatic changes to all the statistics. Stopping the addiction or at least reducing the number of cigarettes smoked in a day can bring down the cases of diseases and the number of deaths by a large fraction. If each smoker cuts off one cigarette a day, smoke released from more than a billion cigarettes are reduced. A very little step from one can make a huge change around us.