Currently, approximately six trillion cigarettes are consumed annually worldwide. And tendencies are still increasing. Almost half of these cigarettes are consumed in the Western Pacific region, one fifth in Europe, and every tenth cigarette in the Americas. China is by far the world’s leading smoking nation, responsible for the consumption of around 2.6 trillion cigarettes.
The United States consumes around 300 billion cigarettes each year. In 2014, some 40 million adults in the U.S. were current smokers. Men are more likely to smoke than women. Some 20 percent of adult U.S. men are current smokers, while this percentage remains about 15.5 among U.S. women. American Indians and Alaska Natives are the ethnic groups with the highest share of smoking adults. Since the late 90s, smoking among adolescents has steadily decreased.
Nevertheless, smoking does not come without problems. Smoking-related costs for the United States amount to over 300 billion U.S. dollars. One half is for direct health expenditure, while the other is due to lost productivity. Risks develop – for example, the prevalence of heart diseases and various types of cancer increase dramatically when people start smoking. Most of the U.S. states with the highest smoking rates also have the highest cancer death rates. This is no wonder, since cancer of lung and bronchus are the most prevalent cancer types. It is also a given fact, that secondhand smoke involves the same increased health risks for nonsmokers.
Due to all this, countries increasingly attempt to ban smoking from public facilities and places. First and foremost, this has a positive effect on the health of nonsmokers. Even bans on point-of-sale advertising are becoming more and more widespread. There is however a dilemma, since governments all over the world generate considerable revenues from tobacco products. These amounts are distinctly larger than expenditures on tobacco prevention.
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