In which countries do people smoke the most?

Nearly one-in-four (23%) adults in the world smoke tobacco.

But where in the world is smoking most common?

In the map we see the share of adults, aged 15 years and older, who smoke tobacco.

There are a number of countries where at least 40% of population smoke, if not more. The places where many people smoke are clustered in two regions. South-East Asia and the Pacific islands and Europe – particularly the Balkan region – but also France, Germany, and Austria.

In some countries very few people smoke: in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Nigeria less than 5% do.

There are several factors which influence the prevalence of smoking. One is prosperity: if we look at the relationship between smoking prevalence and income we find that richer countries tend to smoke more. But as you see in this correlation there are very large differences at each level of income.

Smoking rates are high across many countries, but we know from experience that this can change quickly. Many of today’s high-income countries had much higher rates of smoking in the past, and have seen a dramatic reduction. In 2000, the UK had rates similar to Indonesia today – 38% of adults smoked. Now, less than 20% do. The rise, peak, then decline of smoking is one we see across many countries.

The prevalence of smoking also differs significantly between men and women. Here we look at sex differences in smoking across the world.