Estimates of global and regional smoking prevalence in 1995, by age and sex

Am J Public Health. 2002 Jun;92(6):1002-6. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.6.1002.


Objectives: We calculated regional and sex- and age-specific smoking prevalence estimates worldwide in 1995.

Methods: Sex-specific smoking prevalence data from studies in 139 countries and age distribution data from 7 studies were analyzed.

Results: Globally, 29% of persons aged 15 years or older were regular smokers in 1995. Four fifths of the world's 1.1 billion smokers lived in low- or middle-income countries. East Asian countries accounted for a disproportionately high percentage (38%) of the world's smokers. Males accounted for four fifths of all smokers, and prevalence among males and females was highest among those aged 30 to 49 years (34%).

Conclusions: Future decades will see dramatic increases in tobacco-attributable deaths in low- and middle-income regions. Although much of this excess mortality can be prevented if smokers stop smoking, quitting remains rare in low- and middle-income countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / ethnology