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Tobacco smoking is popular around the globe. How did it get started — and where is it now?
There are 1 billion cigarette smokers worldwide — every day, 80,000 – 100,000 more kids start smoking. Daily, 15 billion cigarettes are sold — 10 million every minute. With this high rate of sales, half of cigarette smokers will die from smoking-related illnesses, which killed 100 million people during the 20th century. This century, the estimate is 1 billion smoking-related deaths.
In 16,000 BCE, early humans first encountered tobacco plants. 11,000 years later, we began to cultivate them, and by 1 CE, they had spread across the Americas. As Mayans migrated, smoking moved with them. It took till 1531 CE for tobacco to be cultivated in Europe, but during the 16th century it was even used as currency. By the 17th century, it was taxed and imported to the UK – and it wasn’t until the end of the 18th century that health risks came to light.
Still, tobacco use flourished: cigarette factories opened, production increased, taxes increased. Consumption decreased after World War II, and shortly afterward smoking was linked to lung cancer.
By 1971, public smoking bans began to appear. At the turn of the century, the UK banned smoking ads, and now more states and countries are banning public smoking. Quit smoking products (http://www.nicorette.ca/) are now prevalent, too. What will happen next?0