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close this bookFact sheet No 118: The Tobacco Epidemic: A Global Public Health Emergency Tobacco Use - May 1996 (WHO, 1996, 6 p.)
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View the documentThe Tobacco Epidemic: A Global Public Health Emergency Tobacco Use
View the documentSmoking Prevalence
View the documentHealth Effects
View the documentTobacco Production and Trade
View the documentEconomics of Tobacco
View the documentTobacco Control Measures

Smoking Prevalence

The WHO report provides first-time estimates of worldwide smoking prevalence, based on surveys conducted in 87 countries, accounting for 85% of the world's population.

· Globally, approximately 47% of men and 12 % of women smoke.

· In developing countries, available data suggest that 48% of men smoke, as do 7% of women, while in developed countries, 42% of men and 24% of women smoke.

· Of the 87 countries for which data was available, male smoking prevalence is 50% or more in 22 countries, while female smoking prevalence is 25% or more in 26 countries.

· In countries with established market economies, male smoking prevalence averages around 37%, compared to 60% in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

· Smoking among women is most prevalent in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (28%), countries with established market economies (23%) and Latin American and Caribbean countries (21%). In all other regions, fewer than 10% of women smoke.

· About one-third of regular smokers in developed countries are women, compared with only about one in eight in the developing world.

· Three countries, the Russian Federation, Poland and Fiji rank in the top twenty for both male and female smoking prevalence.