8 Jan 2014

Nearly 1 billion smokers worldwide

8:54 pm on 8 January 2014

New figures show that the number of smokers worldwide has gone up to almost 1 billion.

Researchers say more needs to be done to stop people taking up the habit - by increasing taxes or banning smoking in public places, the BBC reports.

Smokers in Philippines.

Photo: AFP

The number of people smoking every day around the world rose by almost 250 million between 1980 and 2012, according to the report from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the United States.

Some 967 million people smoked every day in 2012 compared with 721 million in 1980, data from 187 countries shows.

In countries including Russia, Indonesia and East Timor, more than half of men have a daily habit.

Researchers say it's all because of the rise in population, which has doubled in the last 50 years. Seven billion people are now living on Earth.

In terms of countries with the highest prevalence of tobacco use, East Timor tops the list with 61% of its population smoking every day. The twin Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda are bottom at 5%.

Whilst the number of smokers is rising, the proportion of people smoking around the world is actually decreasing. For men, it's down by 10% since 1980, while for women, it's reduced by 4%.