Prevalence of tobacco consumption is reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), which focuses on smoking (not smokeless chewing tobacco) due to reported data limitations. Smoking has therefore been studied more extensively than any other form of consumption.
Smoking is generally five times higher among men than women, however the gender gap declines with younger age. In developed countries smoking rates for men have peaked and have begun to decline, and also started to stall or decline for women.
Smoking prevalence has changed little since the mid-1990s, before which time it declined in English-speaking countries due to the implementation of tobacco control. However, the number of smokers worldwide has increased from 721 million in 1980 to 967 million in 2012 and the number of cigarettes smoked increased from 4.96 trillion to 6.25 trillion because of population growth.
In Western countries, smoking is more prevalent among populations with mental health problems, with alcohol and drug problems, among criminals, and among the homeless.
As of 2002, about twenty percent of young teens (13–15) smoke worldwide. 80,000 to 100,000 children begin smoking every day. Half of those who begin smoking in adolescent years are projected to go on to smoke for 15 to 20 years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that "Much of the disease burden and premature mortality attributable to tobacco use disproportionately affect the poor". Of the 1.22 billion smokers, 1 billion of them live in developing or transitional economies. Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in the developed world. In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year as of 2002.
The WHO in 2004 projected 58.8 million deaths to occur globally, from which 5.4 million are tobacco-attributed, and 4.9 million as of 2007. As of 2002, 70% of the deaths are in developing countries.
It is predicted that 1.5 to 1.9 billion people will...