Tobacco is the common name of several plants under the Nicotiana genus and is the general term for any product made using cured tobacco leaves, such as cigarettes. Tobacco products are addictive and can be challenging to quit using due to tobacco’s nicotine content.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills more than 8 million people per year, including both smokers and non-smokers who experience second-hand smoke. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Tobacco uses increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer, oral cancer, heart disease, and blood clots. Tobacco use also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke and leads to tooth and gum decay and wrinkled skin.
Tobacco prevalence is affected by several factors. Prosperity is the first of these. Wealthier countries tend to smoke more. Certain religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, are anti-tobacco. Additionally, in some cultures around the world, smoking is part of the social culture and is almost expected for males.
In many South and Southeast Asian countries, the smoking rate tends to be very high for men and very low for women. In Indonesia, for example, the male smoking rate is 76.20%, and the female smoking rate is 3.60%.
In general, smoking rates have decreased around the world due to increased education on the effects of tobacco and anti-tobacco campaigns. In 2000, the United Kingdom had a smoking rate of 38% that has since dropped to 19.15%.
Kiribati has the highest smoking rates in the world at 52.40%. As with many other countries, smoking is lower among women than it is among men. More than 200 people die in Kiribati each year from tobacco-related causes.
Of the top five countries, three are in the Pacific Islands and two are in the Balkan region of Europe, following the previously mentioned trend.
The minimum smoking age is 21 years old in the United States. The smoking age was increased from 18 to 21 in December 2019. Smoking rates vary by state, with the highest prevalence of smokers in West Virginia and the lowest in Utah.