From decades, tobacco use is killing a huge number of people around the world. Globally, tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Around 80% of the world’s smokers live in low and middle-income countries where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is substantial.
According to World Health Organization children accounted for 28% of the deaths attributable to second-hand smoke in 2004. It is estimated that 165,000 children die before the age of 5 due to lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke and 700 million children in the world breathe in polluted environment caused by passive smoking.
Tobacco use is also a leading cause of diseases. Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer with over two thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. Second-hand smoke exposure at home or at the work place also increases risk of lung cancer. Smoking is also a cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The risk of developing COPD is mainly higher among individuals who start smoking at a young age. A cigarette is composed of 4000 chemicals from which 40 are cancer causing. American Lung Association states that cigarettes are the most common form of tobacco use, and causes 90% of all lung cancer deaths. In addition, about 80% of people with oral cancer use tobacco. Cigarettes contain more than 60 cancer-causing agents.