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1 Billion People to Be Killed by Smoking

If current trends hold, tobacco will kill a billion people this century, 10 times the toll it took in the 20th century, WHO said, unless the countries take serious action to prevent it .

Critics of smoking ban argue that people are assuming that by putting one cigarette to your lips will immediately kill you. And if you sniff-up someone else's smoke only once, you cut your life expectancy by half; in other words it is all over, forget retiring you will just die at age 37.

"Tobacco is a defective product. It kills half of its customers," Douglas Bettcher, head of the WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative, said at the start of an international conference in Bangkok to draw up a master plan for the world to kick the habit.

"It kills 5.4 million people per year and half of those deaths are in developing countries. That's like one jumbo jet going down every hour," he said.

Tobacco accounts for one in five cancer deaths worldwide each year, according to two new reference guides that chart global tobacco use and cancer. Lung cancer remains the major cancer among the 10.9 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, according to the Cancer Atlas.

. With smoking rates in many developing countries on the rise, particularly among teenagers, that annual death toll would rise to 8.3 million within the next 20 years.

Reducing tobacco use would have the greatest affect on global cancer rates, health officials said. Improving nutrition and reducing infection by cancer-causing viruses and bacteria could also cut rates dramatically.

We know with cancer, if we take action now, we can save 2 million lives a year by 2020 and 6.5 million by 2040, said Dr. Judith Mackay, a World Health Organization senior policy adviser.

If the governments introduced measures such as aggressive taxation, banning cigarette advertising and making offices and public places totally tobacco-free, smoking rates
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