It is sometimes argued that the success of tobacco control is evidence that we don’t need a ban to restrict the use of harmful substances.
Apparently, the picture is not so rosy red. The latest data from the World Health Organization show increasing smoking rates in many European countries, and particularly among girls and women.
The share of smokers in the United States has dropped, of course, but due to the growing population the number of smoker stoday is almost as high as at the height of the smoking epidemic.
Moreover, falling smoking rates in the West are offset by increasing smoking rates in developing countries, and according to the World Health Organization smoking is still on of the most important risk factors for morbidity and mortality globally, and the leading cause of disease in high income countries.
Incidentally, the tobacco industry remains one of the most profitable investments this side of the millennium, followed by another public health threat: alcohol.