Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Tobacco facts

Tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.

  • There are more than one billion smokers in the world.
  • Globally, use of tobacco products is increasing, although it is decreasing in high-income countries.
  • Almost half of the world's children breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke.
  • The epidemic is shifting to the developing world.
  • More than 80% of the world's smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Tobacco use kills 5.4 million people a year - an average of one person every six seconds - and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths worldwide.
  • Tobacco kills up to half of all users.
  • It is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of deaths in the world.

Because there is a lag of several years between when people start using tobacco and when their health suffers, the epidemic of disease and death has just begun.

  • 100 million deaths were caused by tobacco in the 20th century. If current trends continue, there will be up to one billion deaths in the 21st century.
  • Unchecked, tobacco-related deaths will increase to more than eight million a year by 2030, and 80% of those deaths will occur in the developing world.
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