Smoking and Nicotine Addiction Statistics
One of the biggest addictions in the world, smoking is part of over a billion people’s lives. We all understand the health impacts of cigarettes and nicotine but this knowledge has done little to temper the uptake of one of the major health challenges we have ever known.
While a number of countries limit where cigarettes can be advertised and restrict the places where you can indulge in a smoke, the World Health Organisation still uses the word ‘epidemic’ when referring to tobacco.
According to the WHO fact sheet:
- Tobacco is thought to be responsible for the deaths of up to 6 million people a year yet only 1 in 3 countries around the world monitor it’s use and impact.
- By far the biggest users of tobacco are low and middle income people (80%).
- Tobacco contains up to 4,000 different chemicals. 250 of these are thought to be harmful. 50 have been linked to the development of cancer.
- Second hand smoke is also a major problem. It’s thought that over half a million people die each year because of exposure to someone else’s smoke.
- Putting graphic pictures of the damage done by cigarettes on packets has been shown to reduce the uptake of smoking in children. Only 42 countries carry out this practice.
- Increasing the price of a packet of cigarettes through taxation is the one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, particularly for poorer demographics.
- It’s estimated that 10% of all cigarettes sold throughout the world are illicit and have no standard controls at all.
In the US, according the Centre for Disease Control:
- Just under 17% of US adults over the age of 18 smoke, equating to around 40 million adults.
- This rises to 26% when people live below the poverty level.
- 1 out of 5 deaths in the country can be attributed to smoking, including lung cancer and coronary heart disease, with 16 million individuals currently living with a life threatening condition.
- The cost of smoking related illnesses in the USA is in the region of $300 billion a year, half of which is through medical costs and half through lost productivity.
In Europe and the UK:
- The rates of smoking have reduced by about 5% across the board but only 7 out of 27 member states in the EU have a percentage of smokers lower than 20%.
- People in lower social economic groups are more likely to smoke and are therefore more likely to suffer from life threatening illnesses such as cancer.
- In the UK, just after the war, almost four fifths of men smoked, by 2014 this had reduced to one fifth. There are still 9.6 million people in the country who smoke.
- 8% of secondary school children aged 15 have tried smoking. Of these about 30-50% will go on to be regular smokers.
- 18% of smokers have their first cigarette of the day within a few minutes of waking up.
Across the world there are some other worrying statistics:
- In China, the long term effects of cigarette smoke are not realised by a large number of people. 38% of those questioned in research stated that they didn’t realise it contributed to the development coronary heart disease.
- In Africa, smoking is on the increase. The cause may be the growing population and the increasing economic wealth that could see a massive increase on the current 77 million who smoke.
- Smoking in India has fallen by 10% in recent years but more women are beginning to smoke, rising from 5 million in the 80s to nearly 13 million in 2012.
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2015
Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States
Smoking Statistics: Who Smokes and How Much