Cigarettes: The Symbol of Capitalism

The two biggest lies in American business practices are:

  • Cigarettes do not cause health problems, and
  • We do not target cigarette sales to young people.

I smoked Pall Malls from my earliest days in college (when I wasn’t trying to look sophisticated with a pipe my grandfather gave me) until 1989. Along the way I switched brands (only to go back to the Pall Malls), tried cigars and pipes, and even had several years of not smoking (that didn’t last). In 1989 I met a woman who didn’t smoke and even though she was okay with it, I quit. So that means I haven’t smoked in 23 years and I have no intention to resume.

Warren Buffet admitted that cigarettes are the perfect product to market, it costs a penny to make, sells for a dollar, and is addicting. It’s the only product in America that people willingly buy at great cost, go to so much trouble to use, and know that it is killing them … absolutely and assuredly. It is also, for me, the perfect symbol of the greed inherent in free-market capitalism. American cigarette makers will sell their product to their dying grandmothers and have countered declining sales in the United States and open knowledge about the harm caused by cigarettes to take their road show around the world, addicting unsuspecting people in developing countries and furthering their greedy profits on the death of more and more people. And the ironic part of it is that they are still telling the same two lies:

  • Cigarettes do not cause health problems, and
  • We do not target cigarette sales to young people.

Here is more information about smoking taken from several sites around the internet:

  • Around 5.4 million deaths a year are caused by tobacco.
    •  Smoking is set to kill 6.5 million people in 2015 and 8.3 million humans in 2030, with the biggest rise in low-and middle-income countries.
    • Every 6.5 seconds a current or former smoker dies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
    • An estimated 1.3 billion people are smokers worldwide (WHO).
  • Over 443,000 Americans (over 18 percent of all deaths) die because of smoking each year. Secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 of them.
  • 1.2 million people in China die because of smoking each year. That’s 2,000 people a day.
  • Tobacco use will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century if current smoking trends continue.
  • 33 percent to 50 percent of all smokers are killed by their habit.
    • Smokers die on average 15 years sooner than nonsmokers.
  • Between 33 percent and 50 percent of all smokers will die an average of 15 years sooner than nonsmokers, the Tobacco Atlas from the World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society believes.
  • Around 100 million people died because of tobacco use in the 20th century.
  • 10 years of life are robbed from smokers because they die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Smoking also steals 10 years of physical functioning in old age (making smokers act really old), according to Live Fast, Die Young, Leave a Good-Looking Corpse by David M. Burns, MD (Archives of Internal Medicine).
  • Smoking causes more death and disability than any single disease (World Health Organization).
  • A “death clock” now follows the tobacco use death toll since October 1999, just under 40 million and counting. It was set up by the World Health Organization in October 2008.
  • 650,000 Europeans die each year from tobacco-related diseases, EU figures reveal.
  • Quitting smoking is being attributed to Victorian (Australia) males born in 2006 having a life expectancy of 80 years old. This puts them ahead of Japanese men’s average life expectancy of 79 years.
  • Highest US smoking death rate according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:
    • Kentucky
    • West Virginia
    • Nevada
    • Mississippi
    • Oklahoma
    • Tennessee
    • Arkansas
    • Alabama
    • Indiana
    • Missouri
    • The lowest US death rates from smoking were Utah and Hawaii (CDC).
  • In India, about 900,000 Indians a year die from smoking-related diseases, that’s nearly one in 10 of all deaths in India. Half of Indian males use tobacco and it is becoming more popular with younger people.
    • Nearly 6 lakh people die from bidi-smoking every year in India, according to the Caught in a Death Trap: A Study on Bidi Rollers of West Bengal and Gujarat study.
  • In Russia, smoking kills between 400,000 and 500,000 Russians every year from smoking ailments.
  • In Japan, smoking is the leading cause of death and is responsible for 20% of all cancers. 50 percent of men and 14 percent of women smoke.
  • In Indonesia, an estimated 200,000 people die each year of smoking-related diseases.
    • About a quarter of deaths in 2005 were from smoking and 80 percent of lung and respiratory cancer cases were due to smoking.
    • About 220 million cigarettes were smoked by Indonesians in 2006.
  • About 140,000 Germans die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. Nearly one in three German adults smokes regularly. Some studies estimate that 3,000-4,000 deaths per year can be attributed to passive smoking.
  • In the UK, 90,000 people die from smoking each year.
    • 6,000 people in Wales are killed by smoking every year.
  • In Turkey, around 110,000 people each year die of smoking-related illnesses, according to official figures.
  • In Nigeria, 6.5 million citizens are expected to die from smoking over time.
  • In Pakistan, 100,000 people die each year because of smoking.
  • In France, there are about 66,000 smoking-related deaths each year and up to 5,800 deaths from passive smoking, inhaling the smoke of smokers. About 12 million people are smokers, 25 percent of the population.
  • Mexico has around 65,000 cigarette-related deaths a year. The country has 105 million people.
  • In Spain, there are 50,000 smoking-related deaths annually. About 30 percent of Spaniards smoke.
  • In South Korea, an estimated 49,000 people die each year of smoking-related diseases, according to the private Korean Association of Smoking and Health.
  • 50,000 Iranians die each year from tobacco related illnesses, according to the government. Some say the number of deaths is 60,000 a year.
    * 200,000 Iranian projected to die from smoking by 2019.
  • In Malaysia, nearly 40,000 people died of smoking-related diseases in the last 5 years, now around 10,000 a year.
  • In Vietnam, 40,000 citizens die every year due to diseases caused by smoking.
  • In Canada, 37,000 people die from smoking every year, according to the Ministry of Health.
    • In British Columbia, CAN, 6,000 people die each year from smoking.
    • In the Alberta province, smoking claims 3,400 people’s lives due to tobacco.
  • In Egypt, there are 34,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.
  • 33,000 Romanians die every year because of smoking. There were 6.5 million smokers aged 25 to 44 years old in Romania.
  • In Saudi Arabia, 22,000 Saudis die of smoking related diseases every year, according to the Anti-Smoking Society.
  • In Greece, where 45% of the population smokes, an estimated 20,000 people die of smoking-related diseases each year.
    * 600 people die every year from passive smoking.* The number of smokers in Greece has gone up 10 percent in 10 years.
    * Passive smoking kills estimated 600 people each year in Greece.
  • In South Africa, 44,000 adults die each year from smoking, according to the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS).
  • In Australia, 15,000 to 19,000 Australians deaths each year are caused by smoking.
    • Roughly 20% of the Australian population smokes.
    • Aboriginal life expectancy is 17 years less than non-indigenous Australians. Their high smoking rate gets part of the blame. Government officials are trying to address the issue.
    • More than 4,000 Victorians die from soming every year.
    • More than 3400 Queenslanders die because of smoking each year.
  • 13,000 Scots are killed every year by tobacco where about 30% of the population smokes. Up to 2,000 people die of passive smoking annually.
    • Smoking kills regardless of class — rich, poor, male or female, according to a 28 year long study by researchers from Glasgow University and NHS Scotland (British Medical Journal (BMJ) online).
    • Smoking kills 6 times more Scots than accidents, murder, suicide, falls and poisoning combined (Edinburgh Evening News).
  • In Ireland, 6,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases.
    • Smoking-related illnesses kill 2,500 people in Northern Ireland each year.
  • In the Philippines, 20,000 Filipinos die from smoking-related illnesses each year (that’s 2 every hour). Smoking is linked to 5 of the top 10 leading causes of deaths, according to Government data.
  • In Croatia, a country with 4.4 million people, nearly 13,000 of them die each year because of smoking.
    • 3,000 of those deaths are from passive smoking.
  • Some 6,000 Cubans die from smoking-related illnesses.
  • In New Zealand, around 5,000 people die every year because of smoking-related diseases.
  • About 7 people die each day in Uruguay from smoking-related causes including lung cancer, emphysema and other illnesses, anti-smoking groups estimate.
  • In the Western Pacific region, tobacco kills more than 3000 people each day. It’s the leading cause of death. The Western Pacific has one third of the world’s smokers, the highest rate of male smokers and the fastest increase of smoking among children and young women.
  • This year lung cancer, primarily caused by smoking, 1,351,000 people: 975,000 men and 376,000 women, the American Cancer Society, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Each day about 13,500 people worldwide die from smoking-related diseases.

Those are some facts about death from smoking around the world. Smoking, cigarettes and tobacco are international problems. Fortunately, many governments, organizations and people are stepping up to meet the challenge. We will see what happens. . .

Ready to die in middle age? Keep smoking, according to researchers in Norway who tracked more than 50,000 people for a quarter century.”Tobacco shortens the lifespan of smokers by 25 years with about 70% of people who begin smoking from their teens die by age 45″, Dr. Akwasi Osei, Chief Psychiatrist at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital said.

Quit smoking and watch the risk of dying in middle age quickly fall. Give yourself the chance to live longer.

  • 41 percent of men who smoked a pack or more a day died in middle age, compared to 14 percent of those who never smoked.
  • 26 percent of women who smoked heavily died in middle age, compared to 9 percent of those who never smoked.
  • 44.5 million Americans, currently smoke or about 21 percent of American adults, according to estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • 168,000 Americans died of cancer due to tobacco use in 2007 (American Cancer Society).
  • Kentucky is #1. That is, the state with the highest smoking rate and the most smoking related deaths in the US.
  • Smoking-related deaths in NYC fell more than 11 percent from 8,722 to 7,744 during 2002 to 2006 (after the New York City smoking ban).
  • Up to 2.5 million people in China will die annually by 2025, if growing tobacco use in China continues at current trends the Beijing Daily Messenger reported, citing World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.
  • “One hour with a shisha (hookah) is equivalent to something between 100 and 200 cigarettes,” Dr Fatima el-Awa, from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office said.

See more international smoking facts.

4 thoughts on “Cigarettes: The Symbol of Capitalism

  1. I have stopped smoking several times, often measured in months and even years, but until now I have always faced a crisis in my life that suggested the need for a cigarette and then I was off to buy my own pack, etc.

    I’m getting to be too old to start smoking again, although it might be difficult to smoke and take oxygen at the same time. Besides that, I was watching television this last week and they were charging $12 a pack in Manhattan: down here in South Carolina you can get a lot of barbecue for $12.

    Each time I stopped smoking it was for a good reason—getting married, child born, new girl friend, etc.—and never for my own health. I remember visiting an old friend in Los Angeles and his commenting as I lit up that I was another man not afraid of lung cancer.

    But if you have ever stopped smoking and then engaged in a deep lingering kiss with a woman who is still smoking, you’ll never want to expose another woman to that level of gackishness. That’s when you quit.


    1. You are right! Thats what I think. Figures and statistics and all the way of banning are a bad way to prevent smokers from smoking. In me exactly those things are the ones, which made me even prouder to be smoker, a cool one, who neglects such stupid information and warning! We all could die tomorrow in a car accident and then having missed cool years as a smoker 🙂


      1. Cigarettes were cool in the ’50s but now are a sign of being uncool. But let’s be real: whether cigarette smoking is cool or uncool, it is only continuing because of greedy corporations, misleading advertisement, overt lying, and inherent addiction.


  2. All facts will not keep smokers away from smoking, mostly. I think it needs the one moment, where you hate your smoking soo much, that your decision to stop becomes final. I give people the chance to see my way, directly.


What are your thoughts on this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s