Tobacco: Smoking kills, Smoking is injurious to Health

Smoking is injurious to Health

Tobacco: Smoking kills, best way to quit smoking

Tobacco Overview

More than 8 million people die each year from the tobacco epidemic, which is one of the greatest risks to global public health. This figure includes roughly 1.2 million fatalities from exposure to secondhand smoke.

There is no level of cigarette exposure that is safe; all kinds of tobacco are toxic. The most prevalent method of tobacco consumption worldwide is cigarette smoking. Other tobacco goods include bidis, kreteks, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, waterpipe tobacco, and numerous smokeless tobacco items.

More than 80% of the 1.3 billion tobacco users globally reside in low- and middle-income nations, which bear the brunt of the disease and death caused by tobacco use. By diverting household spending away from necessities like food and shelter to cigarettes, tobacco usage contributes to poverty.

The economic consequences of tobacco use are large and include high medical expenses for treating diseases brought on by tobacco use as well as the lost human capital as a result of morbidity and mortality linked to tobacco use.

Key facts

  • Tobacco is so deadly that it kills up to half of its users.
  • Each year, more than 8 million people are killed by tobacco. 
  • Around 1.2 million of those fatalities are caused by non-smokers being exposed to secondhand smoke, while more than 7 million are caused by direct tobacco use.
  • More than 80% of the 1.3 billion tobacco smokers worldwide reside in low- and middle-income nations.
  • 22.3 percent of people worldwide, 36.7 percent of men, and 7.8 percent of women smoked cigarettes in 2020.
  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was ratified by WHO Member States in 2003 to fight the tobacco epidemic. As of right now, 182 nations have ratified this agreement.
  • The WHO MPOWER initiatives have been demonstrated to save lives and lower costs from avoided healthcare expenses, and they are in conformity with the WHO FCTC.

Important Steps to lower the demand for Tobacco

Second-hand smoke

The smoke that is exhaled by the smoker as well as the smoke that is released from the burning end of a cigarette or other smoking devices (such bidis and water pipes) is referred to as second-hand tobacco smoke. There is no safe threshold of exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke because more than 4000 compounds have been found in tobacco smoke.

Pictorial health warnings

Large, graphic health warnings, especially those on plain packaging, can convince smokers to refrain from smoking indoors in order to preserve the health of non-smokers, boost compliance with smoke-free legislation, and motivate more individuals to give up tobacco usage. According to studies, visual warnings dramatically raise public awareness of the risks associated with tobacco smoking. By encouraging the protection of non-smokers and persuading people to give up smoking, mass media campaigns can help lower the demand for tobacco.

Tobacco advertising

Comprehensive restrictions on tobacco advertising, sponsorship, and promotion can lower cigarette use. A thorough prohibition includes both direct and indirect forms of promotion:

Advertising via radio, television, print media, billboards, and social media platforms are all examples of direct formats.

Brand expansion, free distribution, price reductions, in-store product displays, sponsorships, and promotional initiatives posing as CSR initiatives are examples of indirect forms.


The most economical strategy to lower health care expenses and cigarette usage, particularly among young people and low-income individuals, is to impose tobacco taxes, which also boost revenue in many nations.

The tax increases must be substantial enough to drive up prices faster than income growth. A 10% increase in cigarette prices causes a 4% drop in tobacco use in high-income countries while a 10% increase has a 5% influence on consumption in low- and middle-income countries. Tax evasion and avoidance, both legal and illegal, reduce the effectiveness of tobacco control measures, especially greater tobacco taxes. The tobacco industry and others frequently claim that tax avoidance is a result of high tobacco product taxes. However, evidence from numerous nations shows that even when tobacco taxes and prices are increased, illicit trafficking can be effectively tackled.

Tobacco Plants
Tobacco Plants

Quitting Tobacco

Most smokers desire to stop when they learn about the risks associated with tobacco use. However, the nicotine found in tobacco products is extremely addicting, and without help, only 4% of users who want to stop using tobacco will be successful. The likelihood that a cigarette user will successfully stop can more than double with professional support and effective cessation drugs.

Novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products that can be used for quitting tobacco:

Heated tobacco products (HTPs)

Like all tobacco products, HTPs are carcinogenic and intrinsically poisonous. When it comes to establishing policies, they should be considered the same as any other tobacco product. Upon heating the tobacco or turning on a device containing the tobacco, HTPs release aerosols containing harmful compounds and nicotine. Users inhale the aerosols while sucking on or smoking from a device, inhaling them as they do so. They frequently have flavours and non-tobacco additives, as well as the extremely addictive chemical nicotine.

HTPs have been marketed in recent years as goods that cause less harm or that can aid in quitting smoking traditional tobacco. HTPs expose users to carcinogenic emissions, many of which are linked to cancer, and there is currently insufficient data to support any claims that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes. The impacts of second-hand emissions from HTPs are likewise not well understood at this time, despite the fact that these products' emissions do contain hazardous and potentially hazardous compounds.


E-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS), are gadgets that heat a liquid to produce an aerosol that the user then inhales. These might or might not include nicotine. Propylene glycol, with or without glycerol, and flavouring compounds make up the majority of the solution's volumetric ingredients. Despite not containing tobacco, e-cigarettes are unsafe and hazardous to health. However, it is still too early to definitively state what the long-term effects of using or being exposed to them will be.

E-cigarette use by kids and teenagers is extremely dangerous. The brain doesn't fully develop until the middle of a person's twenties, and nicotine is very addictive.

The risk of heart disease and lung conditions rises with ENDS use. They also provide serious hazards to women who use them while pregnant since they can harm the developing foetus.

Through outlets that mainly rely on the internet and social media, advertising, marketing, and promotion of ENDS have expanded quickly (3). Concerns regarding false health claims, ineffective cessation claims, and targeting of adolescents are raised by much of the marketing for these items (especially with the use of flavours).

Until sufficient evidence is available and the public health community can agree on the efficacy of those particular drugs, ENDS/ENNDS should not be promoted as a cessation aid.

WHO recommends that the products be regulated in accordance with 4 key objectives:

  • Prevent non-smokers, children, and vulnerable populations from starting ENDS/ENNDS;
  • Lessen health hazards for ENDS/ENNDS users and shield non-users from their emissions;
  • Stop ENDS/ENNDS-related health claims from being made;
  • Ward against the interests of the tobacco industry and all other economic and other vested interests connected to ENDS/ENNDS by protecting tobacco control.

WHO response

Although alarming, the economic and personal catastrophe that tobacco causes can be avoided. The tobacco business is fighting to keep the risks of its products hidden, but we are retaliating. 2003 saw the unanimous adoption of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by all WHO Member States (WHO FCTC). It has been in effect since 2005 and currently has 182 Parties, which represent more than 90% of the global population.

MPOWER, a feasible and affordable method for accelerating the implementation of the WHO FCTC's primary demand reduction requirements on the ground, was introduced by WHO in 2007.

The 6 MPOWER measures are:

  • Keep an eye on tobacco usage and preventative initiatives
  • Deter people from smoking
  • Provide support for quitting smoking
  • Inform people about the hazards of tobacco
  • Enforce restrictions on tobacco sponsorship, advertising, and promotion
  • Increase tobacco taxes.

Since 2007, WHO has kept an eye on MPOWER regulations. Please consult the series of WHO reports on the global tobacco epidemic for more information on the developments in tobacco control at the global, regional, and national levels.

Author Message

"Health is Wealth" is a famous saying that refers to the importance of health to us and reveals that health is wealth. If we are not healthy (do not feel in a state of physical, mental, and social well-being), wealth means nothing to us. Our health is a real wealth. We should always try to be healthy. Nothing is impossible; anything can be done for good health. When choosing between good health and smoking, health will win. Please stop smoking for your good health.

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