Hypopharyngeal cancer is uncommon in the developed world; it is mostly diagnosed in men who smoke tobacco and consume excessive alcohol and uncommon in women. However, recent trends in the developed world show that there has been an annual increase in the percentage of women with hypopharyngeal cancer. In France, there has been a significant annual percentage change in the incidence of this form of cancer - a decrease in men and a greater increase in women since the 1980s. In the developing world, India, Taiwan and other countries, the incidence of hypopharyngeal cancer has increased in both men and women. These populations indulge widely in the social habit of tobacco usage at an earlier age, both smoking and chewing, excessive alcohol drinking, along with the chewing of the areca nut. Recent research has proven that areca nut alone is carcinogenic. The combination of tobacco and alcohol has a greater multiplicative impact on increasing the risk of cancer, while the involvement of areca nut remains to be proven. The World Health Organisation has commenced a Global Mission on the cessation of smoking and reduction of alcohol intake. The effect of this work has been credited with a reduction of hypopharyngeal and other head and neck cancers. While the younger aged should be the targeted population to avoid tobacco usage, the middle and older age of the population must be targeted for quitting smoking tobacco.