Second-hand tobacco smoke is dangerous to health. It causes cancer, heart disease and many other serious diseases in adults. Almost half of the world’s children breathe air
polluted by tobacco smoke, which worsens their asthma conditions and causes dangerous diseases. At least 200 000 workers die every year due to exposure to second-hand smoke at work.
This fact file explains why ensuring a smoke-free environment is the only way to protect ourselves from the lethal ill effects of tobacco smoke.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the world. It causes 1 in 10 deaths among adults worldwide. In 2005, tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths, or an average of one death every 6 seconds. The death toll is projected to reach more than 8 million by 2030 if current trends continue.
Tobacco kills up to half of its regular users. On average 29% of people around the world are smoking tobacco. Smoking is more common among men – 47.5% of all men smoke compared to 10.3% of women.
More than 80% of the world’s more than one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Unless urgent action is taken, by 2030, more than 80% of tobacco related deaths will occur in the developing world.
Tobacco caused 100 million deaths in the 20th century. If current trends continue, there could be up to one billion deaths in the 21st century.
The smoke produced by burning tobacco products is known as second-hand tobacco smoke or environmental tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke in enclosed spaces is breathed by everyone, exposing both smokers and non-smokers to its harmful effects. This is commonly referred to as involuntary smoking or passive smoking.