Tobacco is a green, leafy plant that is grown in warm climates. After it is picked, it is dried, ground up, and used in different ways. It can be smoked in a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. It can be chewed (called smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco) or sniffed through the nose (called snuff).
There are more than one billion smokers in the world. Globally, use of tobacco products is increasing, although it is decreasing in high-income countries. Almost half of the world's children breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke. The epidemic is shifting to the developing world. More than 80% of the world's smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Tobacco use kills 5.4 million people a year - an average of one person every six seconds - and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths worldwide. Tobacco kills up to half of all
users. It is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of deaths in the world.
100 million deaths were caused by tobacco in the 20th century. If current trends continue, there will be up to one billion deaths in the 21st century. Unchecked, tobacco-related deaths will increase to more than eight million a year by 2030, and 80% of those deaths will occur in the developing world.