The tobacco leaf was discovered by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century; however records show that civilizations were known to use tobacco over 1,500 years ago. Tobacco was said to be introduced into China in the 16th or 17th century.

China has the most cigarette smokers and is also the largest producer of cigarettes of any country in the world. One in three cigarette smokers in the world today live in China. There are three main chemicals in cigarette smoke:


• Main cause of lung and throat cancers in smokers
• Stops cilia from working
• Bursts the alveoli in lungs
• On one packet a day, a smoker inhales more than half a cup of tar from cigarettes each year
• Addictive
• Speeds up heart rate
• Constricts blood vessels
• Swallowing 2-3 drops (60-70 mg) of pure nicotine can kill an adult
Carbon Monoxide
• Decreases oxygen in the blood
• Increases smokers’ risk of heart disease and stroke
• Smoking cigarettes causes a greater concentration of carbon monoxide in the lungs than breathing in polluted air


There are more than 7,000 chemical substances in cigarette smoke, of which 69 are known to cause cancer (i.e. are carcinogens). Did you know that some of the chemicals in a cigarette can be found elsewhere?


Some other facts about tobacco

  • Each cigarette smoked by a person shortens their lifespan by seven minutes
  • Smoking kills about 4.2 million people annually. That exceeds the total number of people who die from AIDS, legal drugs, illegal drugs, road accidents, murder and suicide combined
  • By 2030, the number of smokers who die from smoking or smoking-related diseases will rise to over 10 million people
  • More than 700 million children worldwide are exposed to second-hand smoke
  • The majority of people in Hong Kong are non-smokers, with only 1 in 8 people smoking


The effects of smoking on an athlete

The carbon monoxide from the cigarette often leaves the smoker’s body with less oxygen. This is why they may easily run out of breath or have aching muscles. Most athletes choose not to smoke so they can perform their best in competitions.


The effects of smoking on fertility

  • A man’s production of sperm can be reduced by 22%
  • A man who smokes is twice as likely to be impotent as compared to a non-smoker
  • A pregnant woman who smokes is 10 times more likely to have a miscarriage than a non-smoking woman
  • A woman who smokes has 25% less chance of conceiving a baby
  • A baby who is affected by cigarette smoke is five times more likely to get sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)