The number of smokers around the world is gradually declining, with not only women but also men smoking less in recent years.
This is an ambitious report by WHO experts summarizing the “global tobacco epidemic” of the past two decades.
“Over the years, we have seen a steady increase in tobacco use among men. But now, for the first time, the number is declining,” said Tedros Gebreisus, the organization’s General Director, calling it a turning point in tobacco control.
The main reason for the decrease in the number of smokers, according to the head of the WHO, is the stricter measures taken in most countries against the tobacco industry in recent years.
Now the sad leadership in the prevalence of this harmful habit is shared by the dwarf island states of Nauru and Kiribati, where more than half (52%) of the country’s population smokes.
They are followed by Tuvalu (49%), Myanmar (45%), Chile (45%), Lebanon (43%) and Serbia (41%) by a slight margin.
The situation in Russia is much better – it is only slightly ahead of the world average (28.3%). However, the proportion of smokers among Russians is almost twice as high as the global average.
If we look at the absolute figures, more than 31 million people smoke in Russia, according to WHO. This is ten times less than in China and almost four times less than in India.
A man’s habit
According to the latest data, today almost one in four people on average smokes (or uses tobacco in another form). 80% of them are men.
In total, there are about 1 billion 337 million smokers of cigarettes, tubes, cigars, hookahs and “smokeless tobacco products” – for example, heated sticks. Electronic cigarettes are not included in WHO statistics.
Since 2000, the number of tobacco users worldwide has fallen by about 60 million, but the decline has been entirely at the expense of women.
The total number of smokers has decreased by about 100 million – almost one and a half times – but at the same time there are 40 million more male smokers (their number began to decrease only last year).
Nevertheless, the trend of the last two decades is clear: there are fewer and fewer smokers in the world.
While on average one in three people over 15 years of age used tobacco in 2000, WHO predicts that by 2025 only one in five will smoke (although these statistics also take into account global population growth).
The best situation is in the Americas: according to the trend, the number of smokers should decrease by one third in 15 countries by 2030.
Tobacco use is increasing in only five countries: Congo, Egypt, Lesotho, Nigeria and Oman.
Over 8 million people die each year from tobacco-related diseases worldwide, 1.2 million of whom are passive smokers.
The report specifically highlights that 43 million regular tobacco users are children between the ages of 13 and 15.