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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Special Reports - Ranked: Countries with the Highest Smoking Rates, 2024

Special Reports

Ranked: Countries with the Highest Smoking Rates, 2024

Lung Disease

Smoking is a habit of people from around the world. It involves utilizing cigars, cigarettes, and other products using cured tobacco leaves. Smokers have many different reasons for taking in their habit. Many affirm that they smoke because they feel relieved from stress caused by their day-to-day activities. Smokers also remark that they appreciate the pleasure and belongingness they feel in social scenarios every time they smoke cigarettes or cigars.

Despite the positive feelings smokers get from smoking, this practice has proven to be a harmful one. Smoking-related deaths are a fact of life, yet many still find it challenging to kick the unhealthy habit. In this article, readers will learn more about smoking and the countries where there are high concentrations of smokers. CEOWORLD magazine’s researchers also provided details about the future of smoking.

Why do people smoke?

Smokers who have been smoking for a long time usually find it challenging to go “cold turkey,” or suddenly cease their habit and avoid it for good. After all, smoking is highly addictive because of the presence of nicotine. This stimulant in tobacco leaves is fast absorbed into the human bloodstream when a person inhales cigar or cigarette smoke. Then, within 10 seconds, nicotine commences impacting the brain and triggering several chemical reactions. The latter induce temporary feelings of concentration and pleasure, which makes smokers want to smoke more.

Additionally, nicotine makes the brain release dopamine, which is a chemical that makes smokers feel glad, helps them focus, and provides them with more energy. Nevertheless, these positive sensations do not last long and subside after a couple of minutes.

Why should smokers quit their habit?

If a smoker wants to become healthy, he must quit smoking. After all, this habit is highly toxic. The World Health Organization confirmed that tobacco smoking is the cause of death of over 8 million people annually. This fact comprises smokers and non-smokers who inhale second-hand smoke. In the United States, smoking is the primary cause of death, disability, and preventable diseases among people, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The likelihood of getting cancers of the mouth and lungs is attributed to tobacco use.

Moreover, smoking causes cardiovascular ailments such as heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. Chainsmokers suffer from gum and tooth decay and get inconvenienced by blood clots and wrinkled skin. With these hazards caused by using cigarettes, cigars, and other smoking products, it is common for health departments worldwide to warn the public about the harms of smoking.

Which countries have the highest smoking incidence?

Countries with the Highest Smoking Rates, 2024

RankCountryRegionPopulationSmoking Rate (Total)Smoking Rate (Male)Smoking Rate (Feamal)
1NauruMicronesia11,68052.10%51.70%52.60%
2KenyaEastern Africa51,526,00052%68.60%35.50%
3TuvaluPolynesia10,67948.70%66%31.40%
4MyanmarSoutheastern Asia55,770,23245.50%70.20%20.80%
5ChileSouth America19,960,88944.70%49.20%40.30%
6LebanonWest Asia5,490,00042.60%49.40%35.90%
7SerbiaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)6,641,19740.60%40%41.20%
8BangladeshSouthern Asia169,828,91139.10%60.60%17.70%
9GreeceSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)10,413,98239.10%45.30%32.80%
10BulgariaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)6,447,71038.90%42.50%35.30%
11Bosnia and HerzegovinaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)3,277,08238.30%46.30%30.20%
12IndonesiaSoutheastern Asia279,118,86637.90%70.50%5.30%
13Solomon IslandsMelanesia734,88737.90%55.90%19.90%
14LaosSoutheastern Asia7,443,00037.80%60.10%15.50%
15LatviaNorthern Europe1,874,70036.70%49.50%24%
16CyprusWest Asia918,10036.70%50.10%23.30%
17CroatiaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)3,855,64136.60%37.90%35.30%
18FranceWestern Europe68,373,00034.60%36%33.20%
19AndorraSouthern Europe83,52333.80%38.10%29.50%
20SlovakiaCentral Europe5,426,46832.30%38.60%26%
21NepalSouthern Asia29,164,57831.90%48.60%15.30%
22South AfricaSouthern Africa62,027,50331.40%46.80%16%
23HungaryCentral Europe9,597,08530.60%34.80%26.40%
24EstoniaNorthern Europe1,365,88430.50%36.90%24.10%
25TongaPolynesia100,17930.20%48.40%12.10%
26GeorgiaEastern Europe3,736,40029.70%54.20%5.20%
27LesothoSouthern Africa2,306,00029.70%54.70%4.60%
28TurkeyWest Asia85,279,55329.30%41.50%17%
29AlbaniaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)2,761,78529.20%50.50%7.90%
30AustriaCentral Europe9,154,51429.10%30.40%27.70%
31MadagascarEastern Africa26,923,35328.90%46.90%11%
32SamoaPolynesia205,55728.90%40.80%16.90%
33RussiaEastern Europe146,424,72928.30%40.90%15.70%
34GermanyCentral Europe84,607,01628%29.90%26%
35SpainSouthern Europe48,345,22327.90%29.10%26.70%
36PortugalSouthern Europe10,467,36627.90%33.30%22.40%
37KyrgyzstanCentral Asia7,100,00027.90%52.50%3.40%
38MongoliaEastern Asia3,457,54827.60%49.10%6.20%
39CubaCaribbean11,089,51127.10%39.70%14.50%
40LithuaniaNorthern Europe2,869,66027.10%35.30%19%
41IndiaSouthern Asia1,392,329,00027%42%12.10%
42MauritiusEastern Africa1,261,04126.90%48.30%5.40%
43ArmeniaWest Asia2,981,20026.70%51.80%1.60%
44FijiMelanesia893,46826.70%42.30%11.10%
45BelarusEastern Europe9,200,61726.60%42.80%10.40%
46PolandCentral Europe37,667,00026%30.30%21.60%
47TunisiaNorthern Africa11,850,23226%49.10%2.90%
48UkraineEastern Europe41,130,43225.50%41%9.90%
49RomaniaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)19,051,56225.50%35.20%15.80%
50IsraelWest Asia9,827,00025.50%35.20%15.80%
51MoldovaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)2,512,75825.30%44.60%6%
52United StatesNorth America335,893,23825.10%30.90%19.30%
53SwitzerlandWestern Europe8,931,30625.10%27.80%22.50%
54BahrainWest Asia1,577,05925.10%41.50%8.60%
55MaltaSouthern Europe519,56225.10%27.80%22.50%
56BelgiumWestern Europe11,801,72225%26.90%23.10%
57ChinaEastern Asia1,409,670,00024.70%47.70%1.80%
58JapanWest Asia124,240,00024.40%42.20%6.60%
59PhilippinesSoutheastern Asia112,892,78124.30%41.60%7%
60VanuatuMelanesia301,29524.10%45%3.30%
61BotswanaSouthern Africa2,410,33823.70%37.30%10.10%
62PalauMicronesia16,73323.70%36.30%11.20%
63IrelandWestern Europe5,281,60023.60%26.10%21.20%
64ItalySouthern Europe58,919,34523.40%27.10%19.60%
65NetherlandsWestern Europe17,590,00023.40%25.60%21.30%
66Sri LankaSouthern Asia22,037,00022.90%43.20%2.70%
67ThailandSoutheastern Asia68,263,02222.80%42.50%3.10%
68SloveniaSoutheastern Europe (Balkans)2,120,93722.70%25.10%20.30%
69IraqWest Asia43,324,00022.20%40.80%3.60%
70KuwaitWest Asia4,670,71322.10%40.90%3.40%
71South KoreaEastern Asia51,439,03822%38.20%5.90%
72JamaicaEastern Asia2,825,54421.90%33.20%10.50%
73ArgentinaSouth America46,654,58121.80%28.20%15.40%
74MalaysiaSoutheastern Asia33,379,50021.80%42.70%1%
75CambodiaSoutheastern Asia17,091,46421.80%37.40%6.30%
76UruguaySouth America3,444,26321.80%25.20%18.40%
77LuxembourgWestern Europe660,80921.70%23.60%19.80%
78EgyptNorthern Africa104,462,54521.40%42.30%0.40%
79SeychellesEastern Africa100,44721.10%35.30%6.90%
80YemenWest Asia31,888,69820.90%32.50%9.30%
81PakistanSouthern Asia241,499,43120%33.60%6.40%
82Sierra LeoneWestern Africa8,494,26019.80%31%8.50%
83FinlandNorthern Europe5,572,54519.70%21%18.30%
84AzerbaijanWest Asia10,151,51719.60%39%0.20%
85ComorosEastern Africa758,31619.50%29.90%9.20%
86United KingdomWestern Europe67,026,29219.20%21.10%17.30%
87AlgeriaNorthern Africa45,400,00018.80%36.30%1.40%
88North KoreaEastern Asia25,660,00018.80%37.50%
89DenmarkNorthern Europe5,959,46418.60%18.40%18.70%
90United Arab EmiratesWest Asia9,282,41018.20%35.60%0.80%
91NamibiaSouthern Africa2,641,85717.90%28.40%7.40%
92CanadaNorth America40,528,39617.50%22.70%12.40%
93Saudi ArabiaWest Asia32,175,22416.60%31.20%2%
94BrazilSouth America203,062,51216.50%21.50%11.50%
95SingaporeSoutheastern Asia5,917,60016.50%27.80%5.10%
96AustraliaAustralasia26,461,91216.20%18.70%13.60%
97Burkina FasoWestern Africa22,185,65416%24.90%7.20%
98BruneiSoutheastern Asia445,40015.50%28.60%2.50%
99New ZealandAustralasia5,223,10014.80%16.10%13.50%
100MoroccoNorthern Africa37,022,00014.70%28.60%0.90%
101ZambiaEastern Africa19,610,76914.70%25%4.40%
102MozambiqueEastern Africa32,419,74714.40%23.40%5.40%
103GambiaWestern Africa2,417,47114.40%27.30%1.50%
104IranWest Asia84,038,00014%24.60%3.50%
105QatarWest Asia2,656,03214%26.70%1.30%
106MexicoNorth America129,406,73613.90%21.20%6.50%
107ZimbabweEastern Africa15,178,97913.90%26.50%1.30%
108IcelandNorthern Europe396,96013.80%13.90%13.70%
109TanzaniaEastern Africa61,741,12013.30%23.50%3.10%
110RwandaEastern Africa13,246,39413.30%19.70%6.90%
111NorwayNorthern Europe5,533,58213%15.50%10.50%
112MalawiEastern Africa21,507,72312.80%20.40%5.20%
113ParaguaySouth America6,109,64412.80%20.80%4.70%
114El SalvadorCentral America6,884,88812.70%22.80%2.50%
115BurundiEastern Africa12,837,74012.60%18.80%6.40%
116UzbekistanCentral Asia36,599,76412.30%23.30%1.30%
117GuyanaSouth America743,69912.20%22.10%2.20%
118MaliWestern Africa22,395,48912%22.40%1.70%
119KazakhstanCentral Asia20,000,00011.80%20.80%2.80%
120ChadCentral Africa17,414,71711.80%21.30%2.30%
121Ivory CoastCaribbean29,389,15011%17.70%4.20%
122BahamasCaribbean397,36010.90%18.60%3.20%
123EswatiniSouthern Africa1,223,36210.70%19.10%2.20%
124UgandaEastern Africa45,562,0009.80%15.50%4%
125Costa RicaCentral America5,262,2259.80%14.70%5%
126PeruSouth America33,396,6989.60%15.60%3.60%
127OmanWest Asia5,113,0719.60%18.50%0.70%
128Dominican RepublicCaribbean10,760,0289.40%11.20%7.50%
129CameroonCentral Africa28,088,8459.30%17.50%1.20%
130SenegalWestern Africa18,275,7439.10%17.40%0.70%
131BarbadosCaribbean267,8008.70%15%2.30%
132NigerWestern Africa25,369,4158.60%16.30%0.80%
133LiberiaWestern Africa5,248,6218.40%15.10%1.80%
134HaitiCaribbean11,743,0178.30%13.30%3.30%
135SwedenNorthern Europe10,558,0128%6%8%
136ColombiaSouth America52,215,5037.90%12.20%3.70%
137TogoWestern Africa8,095,4987.60%13.50%1.60%
138BeninWestern Africa12,606,9987.20%12.40%1.90%
139EritreaEastern Africa3,748,9027.20%14.20%0.30%
140PanamaCentral America4,337,4066.90%11.10%2.70%
141São Tomé and PríncipeCentral Africa214,6105.40%9.50%1.40%
142NigeriaWestern Africa216,783,4004.80%9%0.50%
143EthiopiaEastern Africa107,334,0004.60%8.30%0.90%
144GhanaWestern Africa30,832,0193.70%7%0.40%

CEOWORLD magazine’s researchers included the table above, which exhibits the countries with the highest rates of smokers. In the list above, readers will find the Pacific island of Nauru dominating it, having a 52.1 percent smoking rate. In this country, 51.7 percent of its smoking population is males, and 52.6 percent are females. Kenya follows Nauru on the top 10 list above at 52 percent. 68.6 percent of the males in this Pacific island are smokers, while 35.5 percent are females. CEOWORLD magazine’s researchers discovered that the smoking rate in regions like Oceania’s Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America, where the countries on the list above are located is dictated by culture. Smoking is a normal component of people’s lives in these regions.

How do gender and culture influence smoking rates worldwide?

The smoking landscape worldwide features diversity, with gender and culture tremendously influencing it. The smoking rate tends to be quite elevated for men and quite low for women in paternalistic societies like those in Southeast Asian and South Asian countries. For instance, Indonesia is a non-Western country. Its male smoking rate is 70.5 percent, while the female smoking incidence is merely 5.3 percent, marking a wide disparity. Meanwhile, in Western countries like the United Kingdom, the male smoking rate of 21.1 percent is not too far from that of females at 17.3 percent.

These figures demonstrate that gender and culture affect smokers in various countries differently: In conservative and traditional societies, men are the dominant smokers and women are generally hesitant to take in the smoking habit. Meanwhile, in liberal countries where issues of gender equality are widely addressed, the factors of gender and culture have little to no impact on smokers.

What are the future global smoking trends?

CEOWORLD magazine’s researchers intend for readers to know more about how smoking as a globally popular habit rose and reached its declining state today. Based on their research, cigarette smoking initially witnessed a marked surge in developed countries during the onset of the 20th century. Its consumption rose sharply up to the mid-1900s. Since then, cigarette smoking has undergone a centuries-long cycle of decline and peak, reaching its summit from the middle to the latter part of the 20th century. In the succeeding decades, smoking entered a steep drop.

Today, smoking is already plummeting in many countries, including in the high, middle, and low-income regions. This trend started over the past decade, thanks to the prevalence of anti-tobacco campaigns by governments and the heightened education about smoking’s negative effects on the human body. For example, in the United Kingdom, the smoking incidence was 38 percent in 2000, yet this figure has nosedived to 19.2 percent.

In today’s Internet Age, information about the harmful impacts of smoking on the human body is ubiquitous. People are also more health-conscious, especially after the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. With these present global trends, CEOWORLD magazine’s researchers believe smokers and the smoking rates worldwide will continue to dwindle in the coming years. This possibility is positive news since the world can become healthier, with people living longer, more wholesome, and more meaningful lives.


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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Special Reports - Ranked: Countries with the Highest Smoking Rates, 2024
Despina Wilson
I am a senior editor and data journalist at CEOWORLD magazine. My job involves using infographics to report on news topics related to business and policy, with a global perspective. I hold a master's degree in journalism and have worked for newspapers and reporting projects in both the US and the UK, giving me a unique transatlantic perspective. I believe that data can enhance coverage of all news topics. As a contributor, I plan cover a wide range of issues, such as gender equality, climate change, labor, and immigration, using relevant statistics and insightful visualizations.

Email: despina@ceoworld.biz