Smoke signals

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- Since the early '60s, medical research and public information campaigns have exposed the dangers -- passive and active -- of tobacco smoke. The resulting public paranoia led to the number of smokers in the US plummetting from 41 per cent to 25 per cent. But now, despite considerable scientific evidence and public campaigns, the declining trend has almost ceased in the US: the number of adult smokers has remained static since 1990 and the proportion of adult smokers has changed little in the past 10 years.

The global picture is far more disconcerting: cigarette production during the past 2 decades has increased by an average of 2.2 per cent each year. And thanks largely to the growing tribe of smokers in developing nations, it is expected to rise by 2.9 per cent a year in the '90s.

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