In March 2015, the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health was held in Abu Dhabi, with the theme of “Tobacco and Non-Communicable Diseases” (NCDs).

The Conference highlighted tobacco use as the most alarming risk factor for diseases. It not only causes millions of deaths every year, but also contributes an enormous disease burden across the globe.

Smoking kills 6 million people every year…

with more than 600,000 of these deaths from secondhand smoking.

Despite the smoking rate dropping in many high income countries, smoking continues to accelerate in low and middle income countries, with 80% of smoking-related deaths occurring in these countries.

The Conference provided not only an opportunity to come together with like professionals from all over the globe, but to also hear the latest research and developments in tobacco control.

The Tobacco Atlas

The American Cancer Society and the World Lung Foundation released at the conference, the latest and newest edition of the Tobacco Atlas.

It’s a comprehensive report providing a summary of the most up-to-date information on the tobacco epidemic. It also highlights the latest tactics by the tobacco industry to derail tobacco control efforts worldwide.

The Tobacco Atlas reveals some very interesting information. For example, did you know that:

  • there are over 1 billion smokers in the world?
  • smokers lit up more than 5.8 trillion cigarettes worldwide in 2014?
  • cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded piece of waste worldwide?
  • over 300 million people use smokeless tobacco?
  • tobacco kills 2 out of 3 of its lifetime users?
  • globally, in the 20th century, tobacco has killed 100 million people (much more than all the deaths in World Wars I and II combined)?
  • even if you smoke less than 4 cigarettes per day, your risk of lung cancer is up to 5 times higher than for people who don’t smoke?
  • the rates of lung cancer amongst women are killing more women now than breast cancer?
  • if current smoking patterns continue, tobacco will kill up to one billion people this century?
  • smoking costs the global economy over US$1 trillion?
  • that the tobacco industry’s annual revenues approach USD$1,000,000,000,000?
  • the tobacco industry spends $900,000 every hour on advertising in the U.S.?
  • the tobacco industry targets the most vulnerable communities, who can least afford to smoke, including low and middle income countries, creating health inequalities across the globe?
  • the tobacco industry is committing extraordinary resources to litigate, threaten legal action or interfere with countries who wish to implement tobacco control measures, such as graphic health warnings, plain packaging, restrictions on pack sizes, banning flavourings, banning retail displays and implementing smokefree laws for example?
  • a German court banned the ‘Be Marlboro’ advertising campaign (which found that it encouraged children to smoke), yet Philip Morris International continues to promote this campaign in Asia?
  • 200,000 hectares of forest are lost every year to tobacco cultivation and curing?
  • that 4.5 trillion butts end up as toxic rubbish?

For further information on the tobacco epidemic and the tobacco industry’s tactics, visit

We hope you enjoyed this post and until next time, wish you all great health and wellbeing!

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