The World Health Organization designated World Health Day in 1980 to the health problems as a result of smoking. The slogan "Smoking or health - the choice is yours" improved the awareness of these problems, such as lung cancer, heart failures and problems with breathing.
Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. It is currently responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide (about 5 million deaths each year). If current smoking patterns continue, it will cause some 10 million deaths each year by 2020. Half the people that smoke today - that is about 650 million people - will eventually be killed by tobacco.
Tobacco is the fourth most common risk factor for disease worldwide. The economic costs of tobacco use are equally devastating. In addition to the high public health costs of treating tobacco-caused diseases, tobacco kills people at the height of their productivity, depriving families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy workforce. Tobacco users are also less productive while they are alive due to increased sickness. A 1994 report estimated that the use of tobacco resulted in an annual global net loss of US$ 200 thousand million, a third of this loss being in developing countries.
The Tobacco Free Initiative on the WHO website.