Alarming figures show almost one billion smokers on the planet

smoking ratesThe earth’s population has more than doubled in the last 50 years, soaring to 7.1 billion according to the United States Census Bureau (USCB).

Inevitably, this has impacted the total number of smoker’s around the globe, with estimates showing there could be almost one billion people around the world who are lighting up. This is despite the fact that the habit is becoming less popular in certain parts of the world as people become more concerned for their health and the reality hits home that smoking is an incredibly expensive habit.

In 1980 it was estimated that the total number of global smokers stood at around 721 million. However, in 2012, this figure now stood at 967 million, according to data that was collated from 187 countries. The rise has occurred even though on the whole, the percentage of the population smoking on a daily basis across the globe has actually come down.

Research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have highlighted a spiralling population on the earth for the huge rise in smoking rates, with Bangladesh, China and Russia witnessing a particularly high number of inhabitants beginning to smoke during the last few years. Researchers noted that surprisingly, some of the largest smoking rates can be seen in the developing world.

Over half of the males in many countries smoke on a daily basis, such as those in Russia, Indonesia, Armenia, and Timor Leste.

At the other end of the scale however, the lowest smoking rates for men are found in Antigua and Barbuda, Sao Tome and Principe, and Nigeria. Smoking rates are lowest for women in Eritrea, Cameroon, and Morocco.

The small country of East Timor can claim the unwanted title of having the highest prevalence of tobacco use, with 61% of its population lighting up each and every day.

Two Caribbean Islands – Antigua and Barbuda – could proudly say they were jointly rock bottom of the list, with just 5% of their populations smoking each day.

Particular countries to be commended are Canada, Iceland, Norway and Mexico, all of whom were found to be effective at either getting their inhabitants to quit smoking, or manage to urge them not to start it in the first place.

IHME Director Dr Christopher Murray said: “Despite the tremendous progress made on tobacco control, much more remains to be done. We have the legal means to support tobacco control, and where we see progress being made we need to look for ways to accelerate that progress. Where we see stagnation, we need to find out what’s going wrong.”

Amanda Sandford of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) commented on the research, saying: “As the overall number of smokers worldwide is still rising, this study shows how important it is for all countries to implement a range of tobacco control measures to curb the terrible toll of tobacco-related illness and death. Low and middle-income countries in particular face an enormous challenge to fend off the powerful tobacco industry and stop smoking rates escalating.”

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