Current Global Smoking Statistics

Tobacco Use Statistics from Around the World

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Tobacco use has reached epidemic levels worldwide, and the repercussions have been deadly and continue to grow.  

The following statistics detail current important global tobacco statistics we should all be aware of.

Key Statistics about Tobacco Use Around the World:

1.  Tobacco kills just about half of all people who use it.

2.  Tobacco use is the cause of 6 million deaths around the world today.  Of that number, 600,000 are non-smokers who were exposed to secondhand smoke.

3.  There are approximately one billion smokers in the world today.  Eighty percent of them live in low and middle income countries.

General Global Smoking Statistics 2015

  • About 6.5 trillion cigarettes are sold around the world each year - that equals nearly 18 billion a day.
  • More than 7,000 toxic chemicals,  250 or which are poisonous, and 70 that are carcinogenic have been found in tobacco smoke.
  • The United States has significantly reduced its tobacco farming since the 1980's when 180,000 tobacco farms existed.  Just 10,000 remained in 2012, yet the U.S. is still the 4th largest producer of tobacco leaves in the world.  China, India and Brazil hold the top three spots. 
  • In some countries, children from impoverished families must work in the tobacco fields to help pay the bills.  This puts them at risk for "green tobacco sickness", a illness caused by absorption of nicotine, which is a poison through the skin from handling wet tobacco leaves.

    Youth Smoking Statistics

    • Approximately 3,200 young people under the age of 18 try their first cigarette each day in the United States.
    • Each day, 2,100 youth and young adults who are considered first time or occasional smokers will go on to become full-time smokers.

    Health Statistics Related to Tobacco

    • Tobacco use is behind six million deaths annually around the world. By 2030, if current trends continue, that number will rise to eight million.
    • Cigarette smoking causes about one in five American deaths each year.  That amounts to 480,000 deaths, or broken down, 1,300 smoking-related deaths each day.
    • Half of all long-term smokers will die a tobacco-related death. Every cigarette smoked cuts at least five minutes of life on average - about the time taken to smoke it. Some estimates show life lost per cigarette to be closer to 11 minutes.
    • At least one quarter of all deaths from heart disease and about three-quarters of world's chronic bronchitis are related to smoking.
    • Smoking-related diseases cost the United States more than $300 billion a year.
    • Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death. It is a prime factor in heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease. It can cause cancer of the lungs, larynx, esophagus, mouth, and bladder, and contributes to cancer of the cervix, pancreas, and kidneys.

    Secondhand Smoke Statistics

    • Secondhand smoke is responsible for approximately 600,000 deaths around the world each year.
    • Approximately half of children breathe in secondhand smoke on a regular basis in public places.
    • Secondhand smoke is linked to cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases like COPD and lung cancer in adults.
    • Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of SIDS
    • Pregnant women who breathe in secondhand smoke may have babies with low birth weight.
    • Just 18 percent (1.3 billion people) are protected by smoke-free laws in their nations.

    How Aware are Smokers of the Dangers?

    • A 2009 Chinese survey showed that just 38 percent of smokers there knew that smoking causes heart disease, and only 27 percent knew it causes stroke. 
    • In general, smokers are more aware that smoking causes lung cancer than they are that it is linked to heart disease and stroke, even though heart disease is the number one killer of smokers.
    • Upwards of 70 percent of smokers in China don't know smoking is a major risk factor for stroke. Between 46 and 62 percent of them also don't know heart disease follows smoking.
    • Other countries where more than 25 percent of smokers don't know smoking and heart disease are related include the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Russia, and Vietnam.  Ignorance of the risk of smoking-related stroke is higher than 25 percent in these countries.
    • Approximately 14 percent of smokers in France, 17 percent in New Zealand and Brazil, and 13 percent in the U.S. are unaware of the risk of heart disease they face from smoking.

    That said, for smokers who do know about the numerous dangers to health and life itself from smoking, most want to quit.

    • Nearly 70 percent of adult smokers in the United States want to quit.
    • Nearly 40 percent of adult smokers have made at least one attempt to quit in the last year.

    If you're smoking and would like to stop, start with the resources below.  Education and support will help you make a lasting success of your efforts.

    Quit Smoking 101 - an Educated Quit is a Successful Quit

    About Smoking Cessation Support Forum - Help from like-minded people.


    World Health Organization. Tobacco Fact Sheet. Accessed March 2016.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use - Fast Facts. Accessed March 2016.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Economic Facts about U.S. Tobacco Production and Use. Accessed March 2016.

    Medscape. Conference News. Lung Cancer? Yep, But Smokers, Globally, Are Less Aware of CVD Risks. Access March 2016.

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