Countries With The Highest Number of Smokers: According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use continues to be a prominent cause of unnecessary deaths, even if worldwide smoking rates have declined in recent years. It is responsible for the deaths of about 8 million individuals each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.3 billion individuals globally use tobacco products, with over 80% of them residing in low- to middle-income nations. Tobacco use significantly contributes to adverse health outcomes and is associated with heightened susceptibility to heart disease, cancer, stroke, and problems during childbirth.
Approximately 50% of individuals who use tobacco perish as a result of its use, whereas 1.3 million individuals who do not smoke succumb to death each year due to their exposure to secondhand smoke. According to statistics and language from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2020, about 33% of males aged 15 or older worldwide smoked tobacco in some form, while over 8% of women did the same. Out of the top 20 nations with the highest tobacco smoking rates, only Croatia had a greater proportion of women who smoked compared to males. The widest difference between genders was seen in Indonesia, where just 2% of women smoked in contrast to over two-thirds of men.
Top 10 Countries With The Highest Percentage of Smokers 2024
1. Nauru – 52.10%: Nauru, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean, has the highest prevalence of smoking in the world, with 52.10% of its people being smokers. With a population of barely over 10,000 individuals, the prevalence of smokers is quite high. Nauru has the second lowest population in the world, behind Vatican City.
The high prevalence of smoking may be attributed to several causes, with the traditional Polynesian culture being a prominent influence, since it encourages the use of smoking devices such as pipes and contemporary cigarettes. Curiously, women have a higher prevalence of smoking compared to males in this location.
2. Kiribati – 52.00%: Kiribati, a Micronesian state, closely follows Nauru with the highest global prevalence of smokers, reaching 52%. The micro-state, consisting of 32 distinct island atolls, spans an area of about 811 square kilometers and has a population of 121,388.
The frequency of smokers in this area is mostly among males, accounting for 68% of the entire population, whilst 35% of women are claimed to be smokers. Due to the elevated prevalence of smoking and other health concerns, Kiribati has a life expectancy rate of around 68 years.
3. Tuvalu – 48.70%: Tuvalu, a Polynesian microstate, ranks third among the countries with the highest percentage of smokers. Approximately 48.70% of the population of 11,900 are active smokers in Tuvalu.
Heart disease is a prominent cause of mortality among Tuvaluans, and smoking is one of the several risk factors connected with it. The prevalence of smoking in this small island country may be attributed, in part, to the adherence to traditional Polynesian customs related to tobacco.
4. Myanmar – 45.50%: Myanmar, formerly known as Burma until 1989, has a smoking rate of 45.50%, making it the highest in Southeast Asia. Despite implementing several public smoking bans, it is astonishing that a nation with a population of 57.5 million still records a significant number of smokers.
The implementation of smoking bans in indoor public areas and public transportation seems to have had no impact on the overall prevalence of active smokers.
5. Chile – 44.70%: Chile, with a smoking rate of 44.70%, is the only South American country included in the top ten list of nations with the highest number of smokers. This percentage represents the proportion of Chile’s population that engages in smoking. Chile, with a population of around 18.4 million people, has implemented very stringent regulations to reduce smoking in public spaces.
Various tobacco tariffs have been implemented, in addition to a prohibition on smoking on public transportation and indoor public areas. These efforts have achieved a reasonable level of success, but, Chile continues to maintain a comparatively elevated prevalence of smoking, particularly when compared to its counterparts in South America.
6. Lebanon – 42.60%: Lebanon stands out as the only Middle Eastern nation in the top ten list, with a smoking prevalence rate of 42.60%. Lebanon, with a population of over 5.3 million, has one of the highest incidences of lung cancer in the Middle East, which is likely linked to the elevated prevalence of smoking.
According to statistics from the World Health Organization, the nation has one of the highest rates of youth smoking in the world, with over 65% of boys and 55% of girls smoking.
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7. Serbia – 40.60%: In Serbia, 40.60% of the population, which amounts to roughly 6.7 million people, are active smokers. According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization, smoking is responsible for about 1.2 million premature deaths in Serbia, with around 58% of these fatalities attributed to cardiovascular diseases. Serbia is one of the top ten European countries with inadequate enforcement of smoking regulations in public areas, despite having legislation in place to ban smoking.
This is due to a generally negative cultural attitude towards reducing the prevalence of smoking.
8. Bangladesh – 39.10%: With a population of 165.1 million, Bangladesh has a smoking prevalence rate of 39.10%. Tobacco inhalation was responsible for around 14% of annual fatalities in Bangladesh, as reported by the World Health Organization. Smoking has emerged as a prominent source of worry for several Bangladeshis due to its association with various health conditions, such as heart and lung disease, cancer, and stroke.
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9. Greece – 39.10%: Greece has a statistically equivalent percentage of active smokers as Bangladesh, with 39.10% of its population being smokers. However, given the population size of somewhat over 10.4 million, the proportion becomes far more noticeable.
According to many polls, the European Union has the highest smoking rate, with 44% of the population reported as non-smokers. Despite several anti-smoking initiatives and regulations, Greeks have always maintained a significant level of tobacco usage.
10. Bulgaria – 38.90%: Bulgaria ranks tenth among countries with the highest prevalence of smokers, as 38.90% of its population identifies as active smokers. According to World Health Organization Data, the nation’s smoking habit is responsible for almost 1 million premature deaths, considering its population of 6.5 million people. 43% of active smokers in the nation are Bulgarian males, whilst around 27% are active female smokers.
In conclusion, the occurrence of smoking is a complex problem that is affected by several cultural, economic, and public health aspects. Identifying nations with the greatest proportions of smokers underscores the need for comprehensive approaches to address tobacco use. To generate a significant influence and advance healthier societies globally, it is necessary to undertake endeavors that include culturally relevant advertising, economic strategies, and strong public health programs.
The global prevalence of smoking exhibits substantial variation, with some nations exhibiting larger proportions of smokers compared to others. Smoking trends are significantly influenced by factors such as cultural norms, economic situations, and public health measures. An analysis of nations with the greatest prevalence of smokers offers valuable insights into the intricate dynamics at play and emphasizes the need of focused efforts to combat tobacco use worldwide.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.