About 40 per cent of men worldwide smoke as compared with nearly 9 per cent of women, according to the World Health Organistion (WHO). One person dies every six seconds due to tobacco.
Tobacco use is the second cause of death globally (after hypertension) and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults.
India has 12 crore tobacco users, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-2010, which means every ninth Indian consumes tobacco.
About 35 per cent of Indians over the age of 15 use tobacco. Over 10 lakh Indians die every year from tobacco-related diseases, according to the WHO 2012 Global Report on Mortality.
Direct medical costs of treating tobacco related diseases in India amount to 907 million dollars for smoked tobacco annually and 285 million dollars for smokeless tobacco, according to Ms Shoba John, who serves on the board of 2005 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world's first public health pact.
With indirect morbidity costs which include the cost of caregivers and value of work loss due to illness, the total economic cost of tobacco use amounts to 1.7 billion dollars.
Bihar government has banned the sale of tobacco and nicotine-mixed gutkha and pan masala and their variants for one year. It has become the third state after Madhya Pradesh and Kerala to ban these products, according to IANS.
Sustained efforts on part of the members of Pongalipaka, a tiny village in Andhra Pradesh with a population of 1,632 people, have paid off as the place has been declared tobacco-free, according to India Today online. In Hyderabad, the Apollo cancer hospital has launched a month-long anti-tobacco campaign to make Andhra Pradesh a tobacco-free state.
Cigarettes contain over 4,000 toxic chemicals, 50 of which are known to cause cancer and nicotine is one of them. WHO estimates passive smoking causes 600,000 deaths every year.
One-third of those killed are children who are often exposed to smoke at home, according to the WHO. The epidemic of tobacco use among women in low- and middle-income countries is increasing.