Tobacco use claimed 6 million lives in 2011, report shows
(CBS News) Think a pack of cigarettes only costs you what the store clerk is asking for? Think again. According to the latest edition of the "Tobacco Atlas," the cost of a single pack of cigarettes costs an American smoker $35 when it comes to future health care costs. And, for the almost six million people who died from tobacco use in 2011, cigarettes also cost them their life.
"We can no longer deny nor accept the massive human and economic harm caused by tobacco," said Dr. John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer for the American Cancer Society, said in a written statement. "This book is a vital tool for not only public health advocates, but also for governments, economists, educators and the media to use to tell the story of how a cohesive, well-funded tobacco industry is systematically causing preventable deaths and crippling economies. We know what needs to be done to counteract these tactics and save up to hundreds of millions of lives."
The American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation presented the fourth edition of the Tobacco Atlas at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore. Since the first atlas was issued in 2002, 50 million people have died from tobacco use and 43 trillion cigarettes have been smoked.
Other findings included that the combined profit of the top six tobacco companies in 2012 was $35.1 billion -- equal to the combined profits of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and McDonald's that year. In terms of smokers, that means for ever person who died in 2010, the industry profited $6,000.
"If Big Tobacco were a country, it would have a gross domestic product (GDP) of countries like Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Venezuela," according to the World Lung Foundation.
Eighty percent of deaths from tobacco use occur in low and middle-income countries, the report found. Tobacco use is the number one killer in China and causes 1.2 million deaths annually, which experts expect to go up to 3.5 million deaths by 2030. It's also the leading cause of death for men in Turkey and Kazakhstan. In Egypt, tobacco-related illness accounted for 11 percent of total health care expenditure. Despite high rates of tobacco use and health problems worldwide, 39 percent of countries do not provide cessation support services in their health professional offices.
Click here for more information on the new Tobacco Atlas.
In the United States, the greatest proportion of female deaths - 23 percent - are due to use of the drug. While total cigarette sales averaged about $71 billion between 2000 - 2044, it cost an estimated $193 billion in annual health-related economic losses.
Earlier in March, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report that more measures like increasing cigarette taxes and creating smoking bans are necessary to stop teens from smoking, according to Healthpop. Even though rates are down, one in five high school-aged teen smokes and the rate of decline is slowing. An estimated 3,800 pick up their first cigarette every day, and 90 percent of current smokers start before the age of 18, according to the press release.
The scariest fact? If trends continue, one billion people will die from tobacco use and exposure during the 21st century, or roughly one person every six seconds. The industry shows no signs of stopping. More than 43 trillion cigarettes have been smoked in the last decade, and cigarette production is increasing to the tune of 16.5 percent.
According to the American Cancer Society, quitting today not only ensures that your sense of smell will return to normal and food will taste better. After five years, the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half compared to a current smoker. Cervical cancer and stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker within five years as well.
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