War on Tobacco Expands to Where Smoking Is Heaviest

In the 20th century, tobacco use killed an estimated 100 million people — more than both world wars combined. Most of those smokers had no idea what they were doing to themselves. Tobacco’s deadliness was exposed more than 50 years ago, and a war on smoking has been raging for decades in the wealthiest countries. The fight has begun to expand to low- and middle-income nations where 80 percent of smokers live. Smoking rates are declining in every part of the world, with the exception of Africa and the Middle East. Still, one in five adults smokes globally. Tobacco is thought to kill 6 million people a year and is projected to take 8 million lives annually by 2030 as the population expands. A study in the British Medical Journal called cigarettes “the deadliest artefact in the history of human civilisation.”