Tobacco kills about one-half of its users. It is also the leading cause of tobacco-related diseases such as cancer, explains the World Health Organization. Reports show that tobacco use kills almost six million people every year, including 600,000 non-smokers due to second-hand smoke.
About 80 percent of the world’s smokers reside in middle- and low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization. Due to premature deaths stemming from tobacco use, these countries suffer significant economic harm. The harmful effects of tobacco use are not limited to lower income countries, however, as about 20 percent of all deaths in the United States occur due to tobacco use.
Studies indicate that tobacco usage remains the leading cause of several kinds of cancers, including kidney cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer and cancer of the esophagus. Tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke also contribute to cervical cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer in women, states the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Pregnant smokers more frequently suffer miscarriages and give birth to children with behavioral disorders or birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals. According to studies, 250 of these chemicals are harmful, and over 50 of them can cause cancer.