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A Profitable Business and its Disastrous Effects on Health

By © 2005 by Tomasz Sienicki [user: tsca, mail: tomasz.sienicki at] - Photograph by Tomasz Sienicki / Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Nearly one billion people still smoke daily (Fig.GBD).The recent Global Burden of Disease study showed that despite strong declines in the rate of tobacco smoking over the past 25 years, one out of every four men still smoke daily, as do one out of every 20 women.However, this analysis stressed that the prevalence of daily smoking declined on a global scale, decreasing by 28% for men and 34% for women between 1995 and 2015. Behind these figures there are the interests of a powerful economic sector in Europe and throughout the world, i.e. the tobacco industry. But above all, the reality is that, globally, the number of daily smokers continues to rise due to population growth.Tobacco use is responsible for the death of 1 in 10 adults worldwide.The 2 countries with the highest annual number of deaths from smoking are China -1.8 million- and India -743,000-. And in view of the rapid population growth in many developing countries we can safely say that this industry has good days to come. Yet, the tobacco company's management and shareholders are acutely conscious of a growing hostility in public opinion towards tobacco use. And they try to innovate -in particular the tobacco giant Philip Morris- with new electronic devices which would be less harmful than cigarettes.Of course, this statement has not been demonstrated so far. In fact, the only barrier to the expansion of this business will come from States themselves. Indeed, they will no longer be able to bear alone the astronomical cost imposed on public health by tobacco addiction.

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