Substantial global effort has been devoted to curtailing the tobacco epidemic over the past two decades, especially after the adoption of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control1 by the World Health Organization in 2003. In 2015, in recognition of the burden resulting from tobacco use, strengthened tobacco control was included as a global development target in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development2. Here we show that comprehensive tobacco control policies-including smoking bans, health warnings, advertising bans and tobacco taxes-are effective in reducing smoking prevalence; amplified positive effects are seen when these policies are implemented simultaneously within a given country. We find that if all 155 countries included in our counterfactual analysis had adopted smoking bans, health warnings and advertising bans at the strictest level and raised cigarette prices to at least 7.73 international dollars in 2009, there would have been about 100 million fewer smokers in the world in 2017. These findings highlight the urgent need for countries to move toward an accelerated implementation of a set of strong tobacco control practices, thus curbing the burden of smoking-attributable diseases and deaths.