30 Surprising Smoking Statistics & Facts (2020 Edition)

Smoking Statistics

Perhaps the most curious of all smoking statistics is the fact that over a billion people are estimated to be regular tobacco smokers despite all the warnings, education, mortality rates, and the fact that it is the 21st century. Humans have never been more informed about the disastrous effects of smoking. Yet, “smoking kills” signs don’t seem very effective regarding the current death rates.

In this post, we present you with some of the most important smoking statistics and facts to know, including both tobacco and weed smoking.

However, that is not to say there hasn’t been any improvement. Smoking statistics by year have shown a notable decrease in some countries (usually the rich ones). The fight for regulating tobacco use continues so as to introduce some order in the smoking world. Our statistics also comprise statistics and facts on smoking marijuana, as it is an extremely popular way of consuming cannabis worldwide.

Here are the top ten pieces of information you should know about it:

10 Most Intriguing Smoking Statistics & Facts

  • Cigarette butts are the most collected polluting item in the world
  • Iceland has the highest percentage of cannabis smokers.
  • Smoking increases the risk of developing lung cancer by 25 times.
  • With nearly 40%, Ireland is the country with the highest percentage of mothers who smoke during pregnancy.
  • 1 in 10 of smoked cigarettes is illicit, global cigarette smoking statistics report.
  • 21.6% of Colorado citizens smoke marijuana, which is the highest rate in the States.
  • Smoking is encouraged by low taxes—only 38 countries have high tobacco taxes.
  • Over 8 million people die every year due to tobacco consumption.
  • Smoking is the most common form of marijuana use.
  • 480,000 Americans die every year due to smoking cigarettes.

Surprised much? Read on to find out what else you have missed about this socially accepted, mundane habit.

General Smoking Facts & Stats

1. 1.1 billion people are considered.


80% of them live in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries). Consequently, these countries have the highest rates of smoking-related illnesses and deaths. Poor education can be an issue as well. For instance, only 26.6% of Chinese adults are aware that smoking causes heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

2. CDC smoking statistics report there are about 34.3 million adult smokers in the US.


75% of them smoke cigarettes daily. Current smokers are defined as those who smoke cigarettes every day, or on some days. In total, they have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their life.

3. Smoking is encouraged by low taxes—only 38 countries have high tobacco taxes (75% of the product price).


The calculations are quite straightforward: a tax increase by 10% reduces tobacco consumption by 4% or 5%. However, high taxes exist only in countries that take up 14% of the global population.

4. The Chinese are responsible for smoking 40% of the world’s cigarettes.

(Tobacco Atlas)

Truth be told, the statistics about smoking show that the rates have begun to decline, but China still has a long way to go. Chinese smoking records will probably be endangered by Indonesia and Nigeria. The latter is estimated to have an increase of 7 million smokers, whereas the former will have 24 million new smokers by 2025.

5. Americans are smoking fewer cigarettes than before.


Compared to the data from 2005, the number of smokers has decreased by 6.9%. 21 in 100 people used to be smokers. In 2017, there were 14 smokers per 100 people.

6. Nearly 30% of American high school students have engaged in smoking.


Smoking age statistics show 28.9% of students in grades 9 to 12 have tried smoking cigarettes at least once. Female Hispanic students are the most worrying demographics.

7. West Virginia is the state with the highest smoking rates in the country—26% of adult smokers.


The percentage of smokers by state shows that the most dedicated adult smokers are living in Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio, Alaska, and Alabama. The last country on the list can “boast” only 20% of current smokers.

8. Brunei has the smallest percentage of cigarette smokers, Andorra has the highest.


The next countries in line are Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Ghana, Antigua and Barbuda, India, Swaziland, Ecuador, Rwanda, and Peru.

What country has the most smokers? The highest cigarette consumption is shown in Andorra, Luxembourg, Belarus, Macedonia, Albania, Belgium, Czech Republic, Jordan, Russia, and Syria, respectively.

9. 1 in 10 of smoked cigarettes is illicit.


10% of all cigarettes and other tobacco products are illegal for one reason or the other. The game is strong in illicit trade. After all, the tax revenues are 250 times higher than the amount spent on controlling the tobacco.

10. The highest cigarette prices are in Australia.


Aussies have to pay $20.69 on average for a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. New Zealand and Norway are close behind. As for the USA, it ranks 16th, right below Hong Kong and Belgium.

Dangers of Smoking

11. Over 8 million people die every year due to tobacco consumption.


And how many people die from smoking if they aren’t smokers themselves? 1.2 million non-smokers who were second-hand smoking are included in this death statistic. Moreover, 65,000 children’s lives are lost each year due to illnesses related to second-hand smoking.

12. Cigarette smoking exposes you to 93 harmful chemicals.


How many chemicals are in a cigarette? There are over 7,000 different chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco smoke. Over 70 of them are related to cancer. The worst part is that most smokers know these tobacco facts and choose to ignore them.

13. Smoking is one of the causes of poverty.


It is no coincidence that smoking issues prevail in low-income countries. Tobacco use causes addiction and more household resources are spent on smoking rather than on the essentials such as food or accommodation. In addition, there are high healthcare costs and lost workers due to high mortality.

14. 480,000 Americans die every year due to smoking cigarettes according to smoking death statistics.


Smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death. 1 in 5 deaths is due to cigarette smoking. At the moment, 16 million Americans are living with some kind of a disease caused by smoking.

15. Smoking increases the risk of developing lung cancer by 25 times.


Smoking and lung cancer statistics are very grim. And they are similarly awful for other conditions too. For example, you are 2 to 4 times more likely to have a stroke if you smoke. Coronary heart disease has an identical probability. The chances of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are 12 to 13 times higher too.

16. Cigarette butts are the most collected polluting item in the world.

(NBC News)

The most collected piece of rubbish in the oceans in 2016 was not plastic bags or plastic straws, but cigarette butts! Every year, 5.6 trillion cigarettes are produced worldwide. At least two-thirds of those cigarette filters are discarded irresponsibly.

Smoking During Pregnancy – Statistics & Facts

17. Smoking one cigarette a day during pregnancy doubles the chances of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).


Thorough research including over 19,000 SUIDs and 20 million births found that the risk of death increases by 0.07 with each extra smoked cigarette. On the other hand, reducing smoking by the third semester can bring a 12% decrease in sudden death risk.

18. The most responsible mothers-to-be when it comes to smoking during pregnancy are in Tanzania with only 0.2% pregnant smokers.

(The Lancet)

Statistics on smoking tell us the lowest prevalence of pregnancy smoking is in Burundi, St Lucia, Sri Lanka, and Malawi (0.3%). The African continent has better rates compared to the rest of the world.

19. E-cigarettes are not safe to use in pregnancy.


Even electronic cigarettes are unsafe for the baby. They still contain nicotine, which can permanently cause damage to the fetus’s brain and lungs.

20. With nearly 40%, Ireland is the country with the highest percentage of mothers who smoke during pregnancy.

(The Lancet)

Smoking statistics by country are very disappointing. 38.4% of Irish smoke during pregnancy. The next ones in line are Uruguay, Bulgaria, Spain, and Denmark (25.2%).

21. Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy feeds the baby with arsenic.

(American Pregnancy Association)

Whichever the poisonous substances (lead, nicotine, carbon monoxide, etc.) you are inhaling while smoking, they are taken by your baby, too, through the placenta. Smoking also suffocates the fetus, depriving it of oxygen.

22. Second-hand smoking in pregnancy can cause low birth weight.


The latest smoking statistics confirm the risk of low birth weight increases by 20% if the mother was exposed to cigarette smoke during pregnancy.

23. 1 in 14 American women smoked during their pregnancy in 2016.


Somewhat expectedly, the highest number of smokers was in West Virginia (25.1%). On average, they smoked 5 times more than the rest of the States. The lowest number of smokers and mothers-to-be was in California (only 1.6%).

Stats & Facts About Smoking Marijuana

24. Smoking is the most common form of marijuana use.

(Clinical Advisor)

Despite all the cannabis-infused products on the market and the boom of the CBD industry, smoking marijuana is still the most popular way of enjoying its effects.

25. Iceland has the highest percentage of cannabis smokers.


18.3% of Icelanders between 15 and 64 years old smoke marijuana. The US is a close second with 16.2%, and Nigeria comes in third (14.3%). The remaining positions in the top ten pot-smoking countries belong to Canada, Chile, France, New Zealand, Bermuda, Australia, and Zambia (9.5%).

26. Marijuana smoking is also harmful to the lungs.

(American Lung Association)

Smoking a blunt or joint releases the same combustion chemicals which are present in tobacco smoke. Does smoking marijuana cause lung cancer? Admittedly, the risk of disease increases as marijuana smokers tend to inhale deeply and hold the smoke in their lungs for longer, compared to tobacco smokers. Nevertheless, CBD oil is very helpful for lung cancer treatment.

27. “Indian cigarettes” was the original name for marijuana joints.

(Revolutionary Clinics)

No one really knows who rolled and smoked the first joint, but the first commercial marijuana cigarettes were sold and advertised as “Indian Cigarettes.” However, these were very harmful as they contained toxic nightshade and potassium nitrate alongside cannabis.

28. There are some benefits of smoking marijuana and it’s used as a treatment for several diseases.

(American Cancer Society)

Cancer patients often smoke marijuana to help them deal with nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy. It also helps them ease the pain. HIV patients who smoke marijuana experience an appetite boost. Consequently, medicinal cannabis is often prescribed.

29. 21.6% of Colorado citizens smoke marijuana, which is the highest rate in the States.


Colorado marijuana users are especially industrious as there are more cannabis dispensaries than Starbucks shops. Oregon, Vermont, Alaska, Washington, and Maine don’t fall behind much as all have over 19% of regular pot smokers.

30. 1% of THC is consumed by the baby if a mother is smoking marijuana while breastfeeding.

(What to Expect)

It is a well-known fact that THC binds to fats, and breast milk has plenty of it. Regardless of how much marijuana is consumed, 1% of its THC will end up in the baby’s system and wreak havoc. THC binds to proteins, too, so it has a detrimental effect on the baby’s brain. Babies exposed to THC feel less energetic and have poor movement and skill test scores.


Why do people smoke cigarettes? Apart from the situation when someone is already addicted, it’s hard to tell. Smoking tobacco is highly damaging to our health and the environment. Not only is it dangerous for people smoking it, but for those around them as well.

On the other hand, smoking weed does have some proven benefits and is approved as a treatment for several diseases. Responsible use, though, is something that should go without saying. According to smoking statistics, it can be concluded that it’s more harmful to smoke tobacco than cannabis.

Overall, the stats and facts are clear about one thing: whichever smoke one is inhaling, it is absolutely not to be enjoyed during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or in the presence of children.

List of Sources:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. *