Smoking: How large of a Global Problem is it? And how can we make progress against it?

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Sep 09, 2021 | Our World in Data, Max Roser

Every day, cigarette smoking kills more than 20 000 people; totaling around eight million each year, of whom about 1.2 million die from passive secondhand smoke. This makes smoking the most important cause of preventable disease and death. By the 1960s smoking reached its peak with, on average, U.S. adults buying more than ten cigarettes every day. Max Roser suggests in this article for Our World in Data that the subsequent steady decline was achieved through a successful global health campaign based on several factors. This is a clear reminder that good public policy can oppose the interests of big business when it really matters. By taxing, many governments reduced the affordability of cigarettes, making it one of the most important and cost-effective ways to increase public health.


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