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Hundreds of millions of people have quit smoking in the past quarter century, but there are still a billion people smoking daily around the world, a new study in the Lancet shows.

Expand chart

Data: The Lancet , GBD 2015 Tobacco Collaborators; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters: One in 10 deaths worldwide is now caused by smoking — half of them in just four countries (China, India, Russia and the U.S.) — and smoking-related deaths have gone up nearly 5 percent in the past 25 years as more smokers are now found in under-developed countries where healthcare delivery is limited. Despite serious efforts by the global public health community to stigmatize and delegitimize cigarette smoking over the past three decades, smoking continues to be a leading cause of death and disability around the world.

The good news: Smoking prevalence globally has fallen by nearly one-third since 1990. One in 12 women smoked then compared to one in 20 today, and smoking rates among American teenagers have plummeted in the past 20 years from a high of 36 percent in 1995 (at the advent of the Tobacco Wars) to nearly single digits today.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."