Manufacturing cigarettes — from the tobacco atlas

There are well over 500 cigarette factories spread around the globe, each responsible for thousands of premature deaths and massive, avoidable costs to society. These factories collectively produce nearly 6 trillion cigarettes every year, roughly 13% more than a decade ago. In 2010, cigarettes were produced in the majority of countries worldwide, and about a million cigarettes were manufactured every five seconds. That year, 41% of the world s cigarettes were produced in China, followed by Russia (7%), the US (6%), Germany (4%), and Indonesia (3%).

Where are these cigarettes manufactured, wrapped, and boxed for shipment? Cigarette factories are located in every corner of the world, concentrated in Europe and China, and new ones are still being factories are often hidden from sight behind high walls, given vague titles like manufacturing facility or production center, and serviced by unmarked trucks. That is not true in China, however, where smoking is much more socially acceptable than in other countries factories are highly visible and prominently featured in their communities.

With advances in satellite imaging technology, projects such as Stanford University s Cigarette Citadels now make it possible to locate hundreds of these factories online. For instance, Internet users can view one of the world s largest cigarette factories in Bergen op Zoom, near the Hague, Netherlands. This facility, built by Philip Morris in the 1980s, currently manufactures about 96 billion cigarettes annually, with most exported to other European countries and Japan. About 90,000 people could die prematurely every year as a result of consuming cigarettes manufactured in this single facility.

European lawmakers: good news and bad news for e-cigarettes

The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, has approved comprehensive tobacco regulations to curb smoking in Europe. The rules include a ban on menthol cigarettes and new restrictions on electronic cigarettes.

The law isn’t final it still has to be reviewed by other branches of the European Union’s government. But its passage means that a the hotly contested debate over tobacco products in Europe is finally nearing an end.

Defenders of the smokeless tobacco product, speaking to the New York Times , cheered Parliament’s decision to spare e cigarettes from a proposal to regulate them as medical devices, which would have restricted their sale to pharmacies in some countries.

But the measure imposed stricter limits on advertising in Europe, a subject that is sure to be controversial in the U.S. as well.

The European vote is a step in the right direction» Craig Weiss, the CEO of NJOY, a market leader in the American e cigarette market wrote in an email. «At the same time, we are concerned about the proposed advertising restrictions. It is critical that companies like NJOY be able to fully inform tobacco smokers that they have an alternative.

American tobacco companies have endured tough advertising restrictions since 1970, including a ban on television advertising that does not extend to e cigarettes. E cigarette makers, taking advantage of the current lack of regulation, have expanded their marketing efforts. In the first quarter of 2013, according to Kantar Media, spending on e cigarette advertising rose to $15.7 million in the U.S., up from $2 million in the same period last year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will not regulate electronic cigarettes as medical devices either, but it has set a deadline to begin the process of regulating them as tobacco product by the end of October, a deadline that could be pushed back by the government shutdown. TIME explored the coming regulations in an investigation in September. Restrictions on print, radio, and television advertising are a possibility.