Smoking — the costs

Most people know that smoking is bad for health. Smoking, more than any other factor, reduces people's life expectancy. Smoking is the prime cause of cancer, heart disease, emphysema and many other chronic diseases. People who smoke regularly lose an average 16 years from their life expectancy compared to non-smokers and half of all smokers who continue to smoke for most of their lives die of the habit.

In India around 900 thousand people die from diseases caused by smoking every year. This figure will rise to more than one million people every year by 2013. For every thousand 20-year-old smokers it is estimated that while one will be murdered and six will die in motor accidents, 250 will die in middle age from smoking, and 250 will die in older age from smoking.

As well as the human costs of smoking, the economic costs of smoking in India are also staggering The annual health costs for treating tobacco related cancers, coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive lung disease is conservatively estimated at INR27,761 Crore (US $6.5Billion). Smoking really exacts a high price on the health and economic wealth of our country.