In 1974, 51% of men and 41% of women smoked cigarettes - nearly half the adult population of the UK. Now just over one-quarter smoke, but the decline in recent years has been heavily concentrated in older age groups: i.e., almost as many young people are taking up smoking but more established smokers are quitting. Adult smoking rates vary only slightly between different parts of the country, as defined by the Government Office Regions. For example, in the East of England 25% of people smoke, in the North West, 30%. In Scotland 31% of the population smokes; in Wales the prevalence is 27%. (Smoking statistics 2005) About 48 million people in the United States smoke an estimated total of 430 billion cigarettes each year. Until the 1940s, smoking was considered harmless, but laboratory and clinical research has since confirmed that tobacco smoke presents a hazard to health. Smoke from the average cigarette contains around 4,000 chemicals, some of which are highly toxic and at least 43 of which cause cancer. Nicotine, a major constituent of tobacco smoke, is both poisonous and highly addictive.
Nicotine is an oily liquid substance found in tobacco leaves that acts as a stimulant and also contributes to smoking addiction. When extracted from the leaves, nicotine is colorless, but quickly turns brown when exposed to air. It has an acrid, burning taste. ...Show more