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Number of smokers
The act of smoking tobacco or other substances is very prevalent in various parts of the world. Statistics indicate that this practice is common among adults, although a few teenagers and students admit to having tried doing it at least once (Boyle 323). Reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) in the United States indicate that more than 90% of smokers had their first cigarette as teenagers. Currently, more than 1 billion people in the world are engaged in smoking (Boyle 325). Close to 20% of these are young people in the adolescent stage and mostly still in school. The status of smoking around the world has changed a lot over the years due to factors such as lifestyle choices (Rabinoff 146). Illnesses and deaths caused by smoking are still a common phenomenon commonly associated with the practice.
Smoking in developed and developing countries
There a very few smokers in Europe and the United States. On the other hand, the number of smokers has been increasing every year in countries across Asia, Africa, and South America. Countries with the biggest number of smokers in the world include Russia, Serbia, and Greece (Boyle 330). The burden of illnesses and deaths related to smoking is higher in developing countries where people still struggle with challenges such as poor lifestyle choices and lack of quality health care services (Rabinoff 151). Currently, more than 5 million people die annually as a result of smoking. A small percentage of these deaths constitute second-hand or passive smokers. These are people who do not smoke, but are constantly exposed to smoke from others (Boyle 331).
Factors that influence smoking
Economic factors and level of education have contributed a lot to the shift of balance in the status of smoking in the world (Alexander 369). In the United States, smoking is very common among the poorest and least educated people in the society. More than 80% of smokers live in economically deprived countries. This is mainly as a result of the aggressiveness of tobacco industries in such markets because they have the motivation of having a wider market (Rabinoff 154).
Although the companies often warn the smokers against the health consequences of the practice, the number of users has been growing over the years. It is also important to note that the number of female smokers has increased a lot since the turn of the century (Rabinoff 155). This phenomenon has been necessitated by cultural and social changes that have eliminated a number of limitations with regard to acceptable behavior for women (Alexander 369). According to the American Lung Association (ALA), more than 170,000 women in America die from smoking related complications every year (Alexander 370). Studies have established that more than 20% of women in developed countries smoke compared to 9 % in the developing countries (Alexander 372).
The way forward
Experts argue that the smoking menace in the world is not likely to end any time soon because statistics indicate that health care professionals also engage in smoking. Although only 8% of professionals working in the health care industry are smokers, this is not good, especially with the numerous interventions being made by the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to address the menace (Rabinoff 161). Health care professionals should act in a professional manner by not smoking, as patients would feel disturbed being treated for a smoking related complication by a fellow smoker (Rabinoff 163). There is an urgent need for governments across the world to regulate this practice through the creation of legislation and imposing higher taxes on cigarettes in order to discourage people from buying (Boyle 339).
Alexander, Linda. New Dimensions in Women’s Health. New Jersey: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2009. Print.
Boyle, Peter. Tobacco: Science, Policy and Public Health. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
Rabinoff, Michael. Ending the Tobacco Holocaust. New York: Elite Books, 2006. Print.