A very deadly habit

Tobacco use projected to kill a billion people by end of century

Tobacco-related deaths have tripled worldwide in the past decade and will kill a billion people by the end of the century if current trends continue, a new report finds.

The report, led by the World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society, found the tobacco industry has consistently undermined public-health measures like plain packaging, banning smoking in public places, advertising bans and warnings on cartons, according to Reuters. Tobacco has killed 50 million people in the last 10 years and is responsible for 15 percent of all male deaths and 7 percent of all female deaths. The report also noted that smoking rates are declining in developed countries but increasing in poorer areas.

Together, the six largest tobacco firms in the world made $35.1 billion profit in 2010, equivalent to the combined profits of Coca-Cola, Microsoft and McDonald’s.