IN SOME rich countries ex-smokers now outnumber those who still puff on. But in many poor countries smoking is on the rise, particularly among men. In parts of Africa more than a third of men smoke. In some Asian countries men are as likely to smoke as they were in America 50 years ago, back when the idea that tobacco is deadly was still news. After high blood pressure, smoking is now the world’s second-biggest cause of ill health and early death. Recent estimates put the annual costs from illness and lost productivity at $1.4trn, or 1.8% of global GDP. Almost 40% of this falls on developing countries, which are least able to afford it.

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