Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco or cannabis, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled. The most common method of smoking today is through cigarettes, primarily industrially manufactured but also hand-rolled from loose tobacco and rolling paper.
A 2007 report states that about 4.9 million people worldwide each year die as a result of smoking. <ul><li>The history of smoking can be dated to as early as 5000 BC, and has been recorded in many different cultures across the world </li></ul>Male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life, respectively
Despite the many bans, European countries still hold 18 of the top 20 spots, and according to the ERC, a market research company, the heaviest smokers are from Greece, averaging 3,000 cigarettes per person in 2007. <ul><li>Estimates claim that smokers cost the U.S. economy $97.6 billion a year in lost productivity, and that an additional $96.7 billion is spent on public and private health care combined </li></ul>
In the United States about 500,000 deaths per year are attributed to smoking-related diseases and a recent study estimated that as much as 1/3 of China's male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking <ul><li>Male smoker in the United States that smokes more than one pack a day can expect an average increase of $19,000 just in medical expenses over the course of his lifetime. </li></ul>
An allegedly healthier alternative to smoking appeared in 2004 with the introduction of electronic cigarettes. These battery-operated, cigarette-like devices produce an aerosol intended to mimic the smoke from burning tobacco, delivering nicotine to the user without many of the other harmful substances released in tobacco smoke. <ul><li>You still want to smoke? Then smoke electronic cigarettes. </li></ul>