The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing nearly six million people a year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco, accounting for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.
Nearly 80% of the more than one billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of health care and hinder economic development. (WHO, 2015)
Smoking continues to be the single greatest cause of avoidable mortality in Wales. In people aged 35 and over, smoking causes nearly 1 in 5 of all deaths and around one third of the inequality in mortality between the most and least deprived areas. ( Tobacco & Health in Wales 2012, Public Health Wales Observatory.)
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