Smoking has been cool for a long time. From the earliest days of advertisement, cigarettes were the ultimate indicator of normalcy, coolness, rebellion, and sexuality. Though cigarettes still may have these connotations, we all now know how harmful cigarette smoke can be for first-hand or even second-hand inhalations and the allure of cigarettes has somewhat died away. Or has it?
Almost 50 years after the U.S. Surgeon General declared cigarettes to be harmful for your health, a study from Washington State has found that cigarette smoking has gone up on a global scale. A staggering 1 billion people worldwide are still smokers. Between the years 1980 and 2012 the number of adult smokers went from 721 million to about 1 billion. In comparison, the approximate number of cigarettes smoked went from 5 trillion to 6.25 trillion.
You may ask yourself, “Well that doesn’t make sense, there seems to be less people smoking today than before.” If you’re living in the U.S. at least, you would be correct. The number of U.S. smokers has declined from 52 million to 38 million people in the same time period. The issue instead lies within third-world and other poorer countries where cigarette smoking has been embraced more fully, likely due to the lack of restrictions of cigarette companies in these areas.
What really makes these numbers truly staggering is that the World Health Organization estimates that 5 million people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. This number trumps deaths related to AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined!
If you would like to check out the full visualization of what countries, cultures, sexes, age-groups and other variables factor into this, just click on the picture below.