Our children are still a bit young to worry about this, but I was shocked to read a report from the BBC that documents research from Harvard University and the University of Queensland where they calculated that almost 5,000,000 people were killed in the year 2000 from smoking. Yes, you read that right, five million people in one year.
The research they cite was from the journal Tobacco Control, and it cites that men are over three times as likely to die an early death as a direct result of smoking than women, and that three out of four deaths in developed countries and more than eight out of ten in developing countries were men.
In terms of specifics, cardiovascular disease is cited as the cause of death for over one million people in the developed world and 670,000 in the developing world. Lung cancer, the most overt form of smoking illness, sent over 500,000 people to an early grave. Chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD) killed an additional 650,000 people in the developing world.
Most staggering to me is that in Eastern Europe and North America, smoking caused almost one in four deaths overall in people between the ages of 30 and 69. Overall, one in ten of all deaths in adults can be attributed to smoking related ailments, and with men, that figure is one in five.
So here’s a tip: teach your children whatever you think is important, share whatever values you believe they should have, help them find their own moral path in our confusing world, but teach them not to smoke.