Yet for all the public awareness campaigns and urban smoking bans (good luck, Alexandria!), more people are smoking more cigarettes than ever. In 2002, the tally stood at 5.5. trillion, but it has gone up by at least by hundreds of billions since then.
Smoking rates have leveled off in many parts of developed world, but are exploding in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. According to a recent World Health Organization survey of adult smokers, Russia leads the cigarette pack, with 40% of the adult population puffing their lives away. Indeed, of former Soviet republics, only Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have shorter average life expectancies.
Recently, the Philippines made smoking headlines when a video of an addicted toddler went viral. With the help of loads of “play therapy,” the kid is now down to 15 cigarettes per day from 2 packs. But his exposure to second hand smoke will no doubt still be considerable in a country than ranks as the #2 market in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.