Almost 1 Billion Smokers In The World: Why More Cigarettes Are Sold Today Than Thirty Years Ago

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The pack-a-day habit continues to hold its grip on the world.

Smoking rates have declined globally by 25 per cent for men and 42 per cent for women over the last 30 years.

However, the actual number of smokers has increased significantly because of population growth, according to a study of 187 countries.

The research compares countries, including Australia, for smoking prevalence and changes in smoking rates since 1980.

The number of smokers has increased (41 per cent for males; 7 per cent for females), along with a 26 per cent increase in the number of cigarettes consumed, according to a study in the January 8 issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association).

Marie Ng, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues conducted a study to estimate levels and trends in the prevalence of smoking by age and sex and consumption of cigarettes.

Earlier efforts to estimate the number of smokers in the world were hampered by lack of good data in developing countries.

Between 2006 and 2012 there was an apparent increase in smoking among men, partly due to more smokers in several large countries including Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Russia.

There has been a continuous increase in the number of men and women who smoke daily, increasing from 721 million in 1980 to 967 million in 2012.

The research was conducted as part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the State of Washington.

This chart shows the global pack-a-day hot spots:

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