Picture: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Cape Town - Smoking is one of the world's biggest silent killers, resulting in millions of deaths every year.

Here are eight shocking statistics that might make you want to put that cigarette down, or at least, think twice about picking up another one ...

1. There are around one billion smokers in the world, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). This is about a seventh of the world's population.

2. Active or passive smoking kills more than seven million people every year. Consumption of tobacco is blamed for the death of on average one person every six seconds.

3. From the above mentioned 7 million, around three million deaths are due to cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke.

4. Tobacco smoke contains over 7 000 chemicals. These chemicals can narrow arteries and damage blood vessels.

5. Every minute, smokers get through nearly 11 million cigarettes and about 5.7 trillion cigarettes every year.

6. According to a report by Health-E News, about 16.5% of South Africans smoke. There are approximately 44 000 smoking-related deaths in South Africa each year, this equates to 121 deaths each day.

7. According to Tobacco Atlas, more than 55 000 South African children between the ages of 10-14 years old use tobacco on a daily basis.

8. Smoking has a huge effect on the economy too. The cost of smoking in South Africa amounts to R59.12 billion.

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