Smoking Statistics: Why It is A Worldwide Epidemic

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Go through these shocking smoking statistics to understand the extent of damage it causes to the individual, society, and the world at large!

Thanks to decades of research, we now know a lot about the long-term health effects of smoking. Those who are still uncertain about quitting smoking should reconsider their choice when they come to know that 15% of all deaths worldwide are associated with smoking!

Even if you believe that this is an issue that can be dealt with later, the information currently in hand indicates that time is not in your favor in this case.

Smoking Statistics

While quitting smoking is a crucial step toward a healthier, longer life, it’s also critical to understand the consequences of inactivity and how it might affect one’s lifetime. 

This will allow you to make an informed choice and take the required steps to break the habit permanently. These statistics are self-evident.  

Cigarette Smoking: Worldwide Impact

Tobacco use is Responsible for Around 15% of all Deaths Worldwide

  • Smoking was directly responsible for around 13% of worldwide mortality in 2017, while secondhand smoke was responsible for another 2%. Tobacco was responsible for 15% of all fatalities, or almost one in every seven.[1]
  • In 2017, smoking was responsible for more than a fifth of all deaths in China, Denmark, the Netherlands, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Greenland.[1]
  • There are huge variances in death rates throughout the world. Asia and Eastern Europe have the highest mortality rates, sometimes reaching or approaching 150 deaths per 100,000 people.[1]
  • Death rates are roughly tenfold lower in some of the world’s poorest countries, such as Sudan and Nigeria, since almost no one smokes.[1]
  • In 2017, over half of those who died prematurely due to smoking were over the age of 70, with more than 93% of those over the age of 50 being smokers.[1]

Smokers Make up a Large Percentage of the Population

  • There are two locations in the world where smokers are concentrated. Much of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands that are occupied by Europeans, especially from the Balkans, but also from France (33%), Germany (31%), and Austria (31%). (2)
  • Due to severe anti-smoking legislation, less than 5% of Ethiopians, Ghanaians, Peruvians, and Hondurans smoke. In Honduras, this happens to every 50th person.
  • The high prevalence of smoking is due to a variety of factors. When we look at the relationship between smoking prevalence and income, we see that richer countries have a greater smoking rate. However, as this organization has shown, there are significant socioeconomic inequalities.
  • Even while smoking is still prevalent in many countries, we’ve seen how quickly things may change in the past. In many of today’s high-income countries, smoking rates used to be far higher, but they’ve recently plummeted. 
  • In 2000, smoking rates in the United Kingdom were comparable to those in Indonesia today: 38% of the population smoked. Since then, the UK’s unemployment rate has dropped to 22%. Smoking rates have risen, peaked, and subsequently fallen in some nations.
Smoking Statistics

Smoking: Men vs. Women

  • Men are twice as likely to light up as women. Moreover, a fifth of the world’s population is a smoker. Despite their commonalities, men and women differ in a variety of ways. More than a third of males (35%) use tobacco products over the globe. (3)
  • In Nauru, a Pacific island country, 43%of women and 37% of men smoke, although Denmark and Sweden have comparable smoking rates.
  • In Asia and Africa, the discrepancies are more significant. In these countries, women’s smoking rates are meager, perhaps as low as 5% in certain situations. 
  • In Indonesia (76% of men vs. 3% of women), China (48% of men vs. 2% of women), and Egypt (50% of men vs. almost no women), men smoke more than women (0.2%) [4]
Smoking Statistics

Cigarette smoking in America

Smoking and death rates in America

The following are the statistics on cigarette smoking, as well as the number of deaths caused by smoking

  • According to the CDC, cigarette smoking is responsible for around 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. Approximately 5.5 million people die each year due to tobacco use throughout the world, and if current trends continue, that number is expected to climb to eight million by 2030.[7]
  • Smoking is the most preventable cause of mortality in America, linked to six out of the top 10 biggest killer diseases.[10] 
  • According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is responsible for one-third of all cancer-related deaths. [8]
  • Lung cancer is primarily a smoker’s disease, with 90% of men and 80% of women diagnosed with lung cancer having previously smoked cigarettes.
  • Furthermore, smoking is the leading cause of COPD-related mortality, accounting for about 8 out of 10 COPD-related fatalities.
  • For every 10 years they smoke, smokers die ten years sooner than non-smokers.
  • In the United States alone, around 41,000 individuals die each year due to secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Cigarette smoking is responsible for more deaths in the United States each year than all of the following factors combined: HIV infection, automobile accidents, excessive alcohol consumption, firearm-related incidents, and illegal drug use.

Smoking in Youth

  • 90% of American smokers smoke their first cigarette before they turn 18. 99% have had their first drag before they are 27. [16]
  • About 1600 young adults start smoking every day, and nearly 200 take their first smoke.[16]
  • Flavored tobacco is more prevalent among youth, nearly 85% young smokers who use tobacco use flavored tobacco [17]
  • 4.7% of middle schoolers and 5.1% of high schoolers used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days [18]

Economic Impact of Smoking

  • The cost of cigarette smoking to the US economy is estimated to be $300 billion per year, including healthcare expenses. [7]
  • Immediate medical treatment for adults costs more than $225 billion each year.[7]
  • Premature mortality and secondhand smoke exposure will cost $156 billion in lost production.[7]
  • The tobacco business spends billions of dollars each year advertising and marketing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.[7]
  • In all, $8.2 billion was spent on cigarette and smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion, or nearly $22.5 million every day and more than $1 million per hour. Tobacco products that are not smoked include cigarette ashes, snorting, and dissolvable items, in addition to cigarette snuff.[7]
  • In 2013, tobacco taxes and settlements will bring in $25.7 billion for states, yet just 2% of that money will be spent on tobacco prevention.[15]
  • Discounts for retailers account for 74.7% of the overall cigarette marketing spend (or $5.7 billion). Customers are given values to reduce the cost of smoking.[7]
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that states spend more money on tobacco prevention and control than they do today. States might use billions of dollars in tobacco product taxes and settlements with cigarette companies to discourage smoking and help smokers quit. On the other hand, States are only using a small portion of the tobacco control funds set aside. [7]
  • In 2020, states estimated to generate $27.2 billion from cigarette taxes and legal settlements but only spent $740 million. That’s barely 2.7% of the money spent on programs to prevent young people from starting to smoke and to help those who have already quit.[7]

More Surprising Facts about Smoking In America

  • Every year, one out of every five Americans died as a direct or indirect result of smoking. Tobacco smoking is the most significant avoidable cause of death in the United States.[9] 
  • Cigarettes are the world’s most littered item, with 1.69 billion pounds of butts ending up in hazardous trash every year.[11]
  • On average, 20 people suffer from at least one significant sickness linked to smoking for every smoker who dies from a smoking-related disease. The Take Back the Shelves initiative attempts to get cigarettes off the shelves of pharmacies.[12]
  • Adult male smokers lose 13.2 years of life on average, while female smokers lose 14.5 years. On the other hand, smoking has the potential to reduce your quality of life long before you die from the illnesses it causes.[12]
  • 18.1% of persons aged 18 and up in the United States were current smokers in 2012.[13]
  • Cigarette smoke is estimated to include 4,800 compounds, 69 known to be carcinogenic to humans. Secondhand smoke contains about 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are hazardous.[14]

Why Cigarettes are so Harmful

It is believed that cigarettes contain toxins that enter the lungs and subsequently spread throughout the body, causing injury to the following organs and systems.

Inhaling tobacco causes nicotine to reach the brain 10 to 20 seconds after inhaling it. When a smoker smokes, nicotine is taken into their circulation and circulated throughout their body, including breast milk. 

Like heroin, nicotine is very addictive, and quitting smoking is virtually as impossible as stopping heroin.[6]

To inhibit red blood cells from transferring their regular quantity of oxygen, carbon monoxide, which is present in cigarette smoke, attaches to hemoglobin in the cells’ hemoglobin. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms may arise as a consequence of this.

In tobacco smoke, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) interfere with developing essential genes that regulate cell growth, causing cells to grow improperly or proliferate excessively. Throughout the research, more than 70 carcinogens have been identified in cigarette smoke.

Cigarette smoking inhibits the function of the immune system by causing oxidative stress. This leads to DNA mutation, which paves the path for cancer and cardiovascular disease development. Because smokers have lower throughout the researchMoreantioxidants in their blood than non-smokers, it has been hypothesized that oxidative stress contributes to the aging process.

It has been shown that tobacco smoking is associated with higher levels of chronic inflammation, which is another potentially hazardous process that results in oxidative stress.

Cigarette smoke contains radioactive compounds (lead-210 and polonium-210) and dangerous heavy metals that “cling” to the tar that accumulates in the smoker’s lungs due to the smoking process. With repeated exposure, this is regarded as a risk factor for lung cancer in those who smoke cigarette cigarettes.

Benefits of Quitting

Anyone, regardless of their age, may benefit from quitting smoking since it instantly improves one’s health and considerably reduces one’s risk of acquiring smoking-related ailments. The following are examples of statistics:

  • Compared to someone who has smoked their whole life, quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces your risk of dying from a smoking-related illness by around 9%.[19]
  • Smokers who have been smoke-free for 20 years have a stroke risk compared to nonsmokers.
  • Within two to five years of quitting, your risk of having a heart attack or having a stroke falls considerably.

To Summarize

In every aspect, smoking is one of the worst killers of our times. It is obviously bad for the individual’s health, it afflicts youngsters the most, it generates a huge burden of trash that has adverse environmental impacts and of course, it also impacts the worldwide economy negatively.

If you had any other views about smoking or were taking your own habit less seriously, we hope some of the stats above would help change your mind. Please do share this article with others as well, so as to create more awareness about smoking and its harm.


  1. Smoking – Our World in Data
  2. Death rate from smoking, 1990 to 2017
  3. Share of men who smoke, 2018
  4. Lung cancer deaths in men vs. women, 2013
  5. Health Promotion
  6. Smoking statistics – Better Health Channel
  7. Economic Trends in Tobacco | Smoking & Tobacco Use | CDC
  8. Health Risks of Smoking Tobacco (
  9. The Health Consequences of Smoking (
  10. FastStats – Leading Causes of Death (
  11. Kicking butts – Chicago Tribune
  12. Cigarette Smoking-Attributable Morbidity — United States, 2000 (
  13. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States | CDC
  14. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease(
  15. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (
  16. 2012 Surgeon General’s Report | Smoking & Tobacco Use | CDC
  17. Flavored Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2014
  18. Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2020 | MMWR
  19. Former Smokers: What’s Your Risk for Lung Cancer? | Johns Hopkins Medicine