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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To accurately reflect the public health importance of smoking it is essential to regularly monitor global trends in tobacco use, particularly among groups with low smoking rates. Current estimates of global smoking prevalence and the total number of smokers are dated, and more current efforts are needed to reflect the true burden of tobacco use in the twenty-first century. According to estimates from the mid 1990's, almost 1 billion men in the world smoke – about 35 percent of men in developed countries, and 50 percent of men in developing countries. Eleven percent of women worldwide smoke tobacco, a figure expected to rise by 2020. About 250 million women in the world are smokers: 22 percent of women in developed countries, and 9 percent of women in developing countries. Unless smoking prevalence rates decline dramatically, because of population increases, the absolute number of smokers will increase.
Methods: Following the methods of Jha and Chaloupka, we provide estimates of the numbers of smokers globally and for each of the six WHO regions. Sex-specific smoking prevalence data from studies in 175 countries and population estimates were analyzed.
Results: Preliminary results reveal variations in smoking prevalence across regions and gender. The prevalence of male smoking was highest in Central Asia and Eastern Europe and lowest in Central America and Central Africa. Among females, the prevalence of smoking was highest in the South Pacific and Eastern Europe and lowest in North Africa and the Middle East. Final estimates will be provided based on ongoing analysis.