UN report says Nauru and Myanmar lead the world charts on heavy smoking

But globally, tobacco use is declining.

One out of five people in the world is a regular smoker of tobacco products and men outnumber women at smoking in almost every country surveyed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in recent years.

However, according to the latest “WHO Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Use 2020-2030,” for 2022, tobacco use has been declining worldwide for decades due to alternative products, anti-smoking education, and reducing affordability. 

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The report, which analyzes tobacco use by country, income, and sex, shows that tobacco smoking men average 36% of the total population while women only 8%. Nigeria, Ghana, and Ethiopia have the lowest rates of smokers – 2.9%, 3.1%, and 4,6%, respectively. The percentage of men and women with tobacco addiction in these African countries varies between 5.4% and 7.8% in the case of men and 0.4-1.4% for women.

On the opposite side, the tiny island nation of Nauru in the Oceania, Myanmar in Asia, and Papua New Guinea in the Oceania have the largest numbers of tobacco users – 49.5% (men 50.3%, women 48.7%), 43.9% (men 69.4%, women 19.2%), and 40.4% (men 55.4%, women 24.9%), respectively.

Among the Europeans, smoking is most popular in Serbia (36.6%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (35.1%), and Bulgaria (34.0%). Iceland is at the opposite pole with 9.4%, followed by the United Kingdom with 13.1% and Norway (14.0%).

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The data for Germany, France, Spain, and Italy shows 18.8%, 29.2%, 24.9%, and 20.4%, respectively.

In the United States as many as 23.0% of people smoke or use tobacco products; men account for 28.6% and women – 17.5%. In China the numbers are 24.9% (out of total), 47.3% (men) and 2.0% (women).

Compared by income level, the upper middle-class and the lower middle-class account for 38.1% and 38.0% of all smokers while the high-income class averages 27.2% and the low-income class 20.9%.

The total number of tobacco users is estimated at 1.245 billion people, of whom 224 million are women and the rest are men.

The data for this report were collected in 162 countries on all continents, based on surveys among people aged 15 and over and tobacco product sales. WHO projections show that smoking and other uses of tobacco will drop at least 25% globally from 2010 till 2025 and this trend will further deepen by 2030.

The analysis does not cover adolescents under 15 or vapor viping.

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