Smoking not only sucks the life out of millions of people worldwide, it’s also sucking the life out of the global economy.
Authors of the latest edition of the “Tobacco Atlas” report that smoking costs the world 1 to 2 % of its gross domestic product each year and is likely to kill a billion people this century.
This is ten times more than the number of people who were killed by tobacco in the 20th century.
The economic losses of smoking include the cost of smoking related health care and the value of lost productivity.
There are now about a billion tobacco users around the world with 600,000 non-smokers dying each year from exposure to second hand smoke, 75 % of them women and children.
China still leads the world in cigarette consumption and saw costs due to smoking more than quadruple to $28.9 billion between 2000 and 2008.
In New Zealand the annual cost of smoking related health care is put at $250 million a year with 5000 people a year dying prematurely from tobacco use.