Over a billion people smoke five trillion cigarettes a year. In 1964 the United States surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, warned of the dangers of smoking.Since then, the percentage of American smokers has decreased, but the use of tobacco has increased by 20 percent. Tobacco use worldwide has grown 75 percent. It is at epidemic levels in developedcountries and growing explosively in developing nations. Diseases linked to smoking claim millions of lives each year. Five percent of the deaths in the world are tobacco related. Tobacco’s yearly death tollin Europe and the United States is 20 percent of total deaths. In Canada it is 17 percent of adult deaths.
The crowning irony and tragedy of all of this is the truth concerning smoking stated byWHO (World Health Organization): “The most important preventable health problem in the world.” So why do people continue to smoke and reap tobacco’s deadly harvest? Why they shouldn’t is obvious. Whythey do goes a little deeper.
A heavily documented report on smoking released in January of this year by the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C., supplies the above information, and much more.“Tobacco kills 13 times as many Americans as hard drugs do,” it said, “and eight times as many as automobile accidents.” It takes more American lives every year than were lost in World War II. TheWorldwatch report also observed: “Governments conduct paramilitary operations against marijuana or opium production or transport, but not tobacco, a far deadlier crop.”
The more science learns, the moretobacco’s deadliness is revealed. Every year over two million smokers die of heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema. A smoker’s heart works harder than a nonsmoker’s. It averages eight to ten morebeats per minute during the day and three to five more during sleep. Research published in the magazine Science stated: “Cigarette smoking is the major single known cause of cancer mortality in...