Factbox: Tobacco - One of the world's biggest health threats

Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:52pm EST
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(Reuters) - Passive smoking kills an estimated 600,000 people a year worldwide, which means it accounts for around one percent of all deaths, World Health Organization researchers said in a study on Friday.

Here are some facts about tobacco's impact on health:


* Tobacco kills up to half of its users. The World Health Organization describes tobacco use as "one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced."

* The annual death toll linked to tobacco is more than five million, and could rise to more than eight million by 2030 unless action is taken to control the tobacco epidemic.

* More than 80 percent of the world's one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

* Total consumption of tobacco products is increasing globally, although it is decreasing in some wealthier nations.

* There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

SECOND-HAND SMOKE   Continued...