Tobacco killed 6 million people worldwide last year and now ranks as the No. 1 cause of death in China, according to a report from the American Cancer Society and World Lung Federation. What's more, the groups say tobacco use may be responsible for 1 billion deaths this century if trends persist, reports Bloomberg.
"The tobacco industry is among the top 10 most influential industries in the world because of its sheer magnitude of wealth and sales," said the report's co-author. About 80% of tobacco-related deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries, says the study, and China is both the globe's largest producer of cigarettes and its largest consumer. In 2009, 38% of all cigarettes were smoked in China. (Read more tobacco stories.)