According to new research published in the Lancet, the number of smokers worldwide reached a new high of 1.1 billion in 2019. While the share of smokers among the world population has decreased quite dramatically, global population growth nevertheless led to the absolute number of smokers rising. Several countries in Asia as well as Russia are still home to a disproportionately large number of smokers compared to their share of the world’s population.
The biggest culprit is China which according to the Lancet study is home to approximately every third smoker in the world. The Statista Country Outlook comes to a similar conclusion, putting the share of China’s smokers at 28 percent out of 127 countries in the analysis, which represent 92 percent of the world’s population. This is despite the fact that China is only home to 18.2 percent of the world’s population and 20 percent of the population in the Statista analysis. Indonesia also exceeds its proportional share of smokers by 100 percent, while Russia and Japan have 4 and 2.2 percent of the world’s smokers despite only hosting 2.1 and 1.8 percent of the population in the survey group. Other countries where the share of smokers exceeded that of population were Germany (2 percent of smokers vs. 1.2 percent of population) and France (1.6 percent of smokers vs. 0.9 percent of population).
India is the exception in Asia. Despite having a population similar to that of China, only 10 percent of the world’s smokers hail from India. The United States, Pakistan and Bangladesh showed populations of smokers proportionate to their populations. But several other populous countries actually had fewer smokers than their population sizes would suggest, among them Brazil and Nigeria. Each was home to around 3 percent of the study group population, but only had 2 percent and 0.6 percent of the study’s smokers, respectively.