Smoking: Top ten facts about this guilty habit

1. About one billion of the world’s 7.6 billion people (14 per cent) are smokers.

2. In the UK 19.3 per cent of men and 15.3 per cent of women smoke cigarettes.

3. The Chinese are the world’s biggest smokers. The average Chinese adult has 11 cigarettes a day.

4. According to the World Health Organisation tobacco kills about seven million people a year.

5. Smoking tobacco was a feature in ritual practices in the Americas as long ago as 4000BC.

6. The use of tobacco spread to Europe in the early 15th century after the discovery of America, being brought to Spain, then France and Britain.

7. Tobacco was introduced as snuff to France in 1560 by the diplomat and scholar Jean Nicot, from whose name the word “nicotine” derives.

8. James I of England (James VI of Scotland) was a fierce opponent of smoking and wrote a treatise called A Counterblaste To Tobacco.

9. He described smoking as “a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs”.

10. Over 80 per cent of the UK price of cigarettes is tax. In 2016, tobacco raised £12billion in tax.