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Today, almost 1 billion people are smoking! In western developed nations, those who smoke tend to be decreasing as mass health awareness campaigns and government regulations have been effective. Yet in the developing world, the story is different and more and more people get into smoking and the health hazards of smoking, such as Asthma, Lung Cancer and various other non-communicable diseases are increasing, almost to a point where “smoking” could be described as an epidemic.
What Is Smoking?
Smoking refers to any act that involves plants of the Tobacco family being burnt and inhaled to provide and create a temporary stimulation for body and mind or both.
A temporary stimulation is a momentary relief or happiness that is caused by the consumption of tobacco due to the chemical compositions included in them. These chemicals trigger certain reactions in the body and brain which creates an elusive response to the smoker.
Often, smoking gradually grows into an Intense addiction and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is one of the worst addictions in today’s world and one of the most difficult to get rid of.
How Are Cigarettes Made?
Tobacco is made of several “tobacco plant” and the scientific names of these are Nicotiana genus and the Solanaceae (nightshade). It’s prepared from cured leaves of these plants.
Top 10 Countries That Smoke The Most
Percentage of smoking adults by country (source: WHO):
- Kiribati: 52.2
- Nauru: 47.5
- Greece: 42.4
- Serbia: 41.6
- Jordan: 41
- Indonesia: 39.8
- Russia: 39.1
- Lebanon: 38.3
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: 38.3
- Chile: 38
You can find the complete list on Wikipedia.
Although not ranked in the top 10, Mexico is one of the oldest nations to use tobacco, with some cultivations found that dates back to 1400 B.C.
South Pacific state Kiribati leads the list, with more than 50% of the population being smokers! World Health Organization has officially declared smoking in Kiribati as an epidemic.
An estimated two-thirds of the male population in Kiribati are smokers.
Second in the list is Nauru, the smallest nation in the world with a population of a little bit more than 10,000 people. This is the only nation where women smoke more than men. Some estimations suggest while about 50% of adult men smoke, more than half the women smoke. The percentage could be around 55% to 60%.
Ranking 3rd is the biggest smoker in Europe, Greece. Around 42% of adults smoke there! However, a strong social push is going on in Greece for tighter tobacco rules.
Serbia is the other biggest smoker in Europe with nearly 42% of the adult population being smokers! The government is trying heavily to limit the smoking of its residents. Yet most of the Serbians consider smoking as a “Part of their Culture”.
One of the two middle eastern countries to rank in the top 10 is Jordan, with nearly 41% of its adults being smokers. Approximately, teens in Jordan smoke nearly 4 times than the older people in Jordan.
Indonesia holds the largest number of people that smoke. As the 6th most populous country in the world, 40% smoke means nearly 57 million people. That’s more than the population of Spain! According to some, smoking is among the main cause of death among Indonesians.
Around 39% of Russians smoke and most of the males smoke more than females. It’s only recently that Russia introduced regulations on cigarette manufacturing and distribution. Smoking in public places was banned as recently as in 2014.
The other middle eastern nation that makes it to our list is Jordan. With approximately 38% of adults being smokers. It’s one of the very few countries in the world that indeed relaxed and lightened the regulatory framework on smoking and tobacco, back in 2015 and 2016. Cigarettes are cheap and smoking is a part of Lebanese culture.
9) Bosnia and Herzegovina
The other entrance from Europe to the Top 10 Bosnia. Ironically, the main office of the International Tobacco Control Conference is situated in here as well. Some studies suggest that those who smoke in Bosnia, smoke nearly 15 (14.8) cigarettes a day.
Chile is the only South American nation to rank in our top 10 list. 38% of adults in Chile smoke and around 120-130 people die a week to smoking-related causes. In the previous few years, the government of Chile introduced a new law to reduce the number of smokers, yet their efforts have not been highly fruitful from the view of the numbers.
Cigarettes Per Capita Per Year By Country
Top 10 Biggest Producers Of Tobacco
- China: 2,995,400 tonnes
- Brazil: 862,396 tonnes
- India: 720,725 tonnes
- United States: 397,535 tonnes
- Indonesia: 196,300 tonnes
- Pakistan: 129,878 tonnes
- Malawi: 126,348 tonnes
- Argentina: 119,434 tonnes
- Zambia: 112,049 tonnes
- Mozambique: 97,075 tonnes
China is the uncontested producer of tobacco. Each year, around 6 million tonnes of tobacco are being produced and China holds nearly 50% for the global supply of tobacco.
Also, China is the 1st state in the world to legalize and approve the commercial planting of genetically modified tobacco.
Health Implications Of Smoking
Chemicals in tobacco include toxic compositions such as carbon monoxide, cyanide, and carcinogens. These chemicals are the main contributors towards,
- Lung Cancers
- Heart Diseases
- Cancers in mouth
- High Blood Pressure
- Infertility among men and women
Also, recently, medical researchers have found that smoking affects mental health destructively and increases depression, migraine and stress levels.
In addition, smoking indirectly affects Diabetes and many neuro-system related ailments. Plus, smoking has adverse effects on brain functioning as well.
Another health adversity is “indirect smoking”. This occurs when people around the smoker are exposed to the smoke of tobacco. And afterwards, face the same health risks as the smoker.