Why One Out of Five People in the World Smoke Tobacco

Could 1.2 billion people really be wrong?

It would be difficult to imagine unintentionally eavesdropping in Starbucks and hearing this conversation: “You know, I feel that I’m missing something in my life. Maybe I should start smoking?” While it is very unlikely to actually hear a person say those words out loud, consider the truth: Out of the 6.7 billion people living in this world, 1.2 billion people smoke tobacco. That’s 18% of the world’s population. Could one out of five people be wrong, worldwide? Maybe I’m missing out on something here.

Despite its obvious health risks (is it really a risk or is it more of an eventual definite outcome?), despite an often negative social stigma, despite addiction, despite the smell a smoker becomes accustomed to yet non-smokers find offensive, despite the fact that cigarettes are the leading cause of house fires and fire related deaths, and despite the fact it’s an expensive habit, still for every five people in the world (and our country), one is a smoker. Seriously, I want to know what I’m not understanding. Surely I’m not seeing the whole picture.

Poorer households and developing countries are more likely to smoke than middle to high-income households and developed countries. What should I learn from that? Do cigarettes give people hope? Or do cigarettes help a person better deal with having less than others? If I suddenly began making half my income, it’s difficult for me to imagine spending more money on a habit that would decrease my overall health. I clearly need to get hip with the program.

I believe it is wrong for our government to ban the cultivation of any plant God put on this earth. So if every plant has a purpose, what can tobacco be used for, other than smoking? Growing up, my parents kept a package of tobacco for when any of us got a bee sting- when applied on the skin, it absorbs the poison.

Speaking of poison, tobacco also is a natural pesticide. Speaking of pesticides, my parents use NutraSweet and Sweet’N Low to pour on ant beds. It is a deathly substance to ants. Conveniently, the worker ants carry the poison throughout the colony, eventually killing them all off. Rule of thumb: If a substance easily kills insects, it’s a good indication the product is not intended for human consumption.

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