Although there has been a marked reduction in the number of smokers globally, there were still almost one billion smokers in 2015, and half of all the 6.4 million deaths attributed to smoking in 2015 were concentrated in just four countries - China, India, Russia and the USA. Nevertheless, compared to the overall population, the global smoking rate is already lower than how it was 25 years ago.
"Despite more than half a century of unequivocal evidence of the harmful effects of tobacco on health, today, one in every four men in the world is a daily smoker", said senior author Dr Emmanuela Gakidou, from the University of Washington, USA.
Chandler said that makes tobacco far more deadly than drug overdoses, which killed an estimated 1,200 people in 2015, or auto crashes, which kill about 800 people a year.
While smoking prevalence has decreased, deaths attributable to smoking have gone up by 4.7% globally - with more than one in 10 deaths worldwide caused by smoking. The risk factors were oxidative stress, which hampers the body's ability to defend itself against free radicals - a type of particle that has been associated with heart disease - and higher levels of adrenaline in the heart, which can lead to an increased heart rate and high blood pressure. The UK cut its illicit cigarette market by half after introducing the "Tackling tobacco smuggling" strategy in year 2000. High income countries and Latin America - especially Brazil which brought in tough curbs on tobacco - achieved the biggest drops in numbers of smokers.
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"For example, India, where 11 2 per cent of the world's smokers live, supplemented the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) with the creation of a National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in 2007. By banning menthol in most tobacco products, in addition to flavours previously prohibited, we are taking another important step in the fight against youth smoking". They are linked to 16 types of cancer, 25 life threatening diseases, and result in 20,000 deaths of Malaysians each year. There are also countries which did not see any change between 1990 and 2015.
Health-care disparities make it hard for adults with low incomes to get intensive counseling and medications that ease the process of quitting, Kotsen said.
Known to cause heart disease and lung cancer, the notoriously bad habit killed 6.4 million people previous year, a global study found. We need your support to keep our talented reporters, editors and photographers holding government accountable, looking out for the public interest, and separating fact from fiction.
"Success is possible but requires effective and aggressively enforced policies and laws", Gakidou said in a media release. Increased cigarette prices encourage smokers to either quit or smoke less, and discourage non-smokers to start. The report was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.