Tobacco is the common name of several plants under the Nicotiana genus and is the general term for any product made using cured tobacco leaves, such as cigarettes. Tobacco products are addictive and can be difficult to quit using due to tobacco’s nicotine content.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills more than 8 million people per year, including both smokers and non-smokers who experience second-hand smoke. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Tobacco uses increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer, oral cancer, heart disease, and blood clots. Tobacco use also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as leads to tooth and gum decay and wrinkled skin.
Tobacco prevalence is affected by several factors. Prosperity is the first of these. Wealthier countries tend to smoke more. Certain religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, are anti-tobacco. Additionally, in some cultures around the world, smoking is part of the social culture and is almost expected for males.
In many South and Southeast Asian countries, the smoking rate tends to be very high for men and very low for women. In Indonesia, for example, the male smoking rate is 76.20% and the female smoking rate is 3.60%.
Overall, the highest smoking rates are found in Southeast Asia and the Balkan region of Europe. Western European countries and the Americas tend to have lower smoking rates.
Smoking rates, in general, have decreased around the world due to increased education on the effects of tobacco and anti-tobacco campaigns. In 2000, the United Kingdom had a smoking rate of 38% that has since dropped to 19.15%.
The ten countries with the highest smoking rates are:
- Kiribati (52.40%)
- Nauru (47.50%)
- Greece (42.65%)
- Serbia (41.65%)
- Russia (40.90%)
- Jordan (40.45%)
- Indonesia (39.90%)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (38.60%)
- Lebanon (38.30%)
- Chile (38.00%)
Kiribati has the highest smoking rates in the world of 52.40%. As with many other countries, smoking is lower among women than it is among men. More than 200 people die in Kiribati each year from tobacco-related causes.
Of the top five countries, three are in the Pacific Islands and two are in the Balkan region of Europe, following the previously mentioned trend.
Below is a table with each country’s total smoking rate, male smoking rate, and female smoking rate.