One of the most comprehensive studies on global tobacco use has reported that the number of smokers and the number of cigarettes consumed on an international scale has gone up in the past 30 years.
The analysis from the University of Washington shows that between 1980 and 2012, the number of adults who smoke increased from 721 million to nearly 1 billion people, and the number of cigarettes consumed went from 5 trillion to 6.25 trillion.
The study shows that while remarkable reductions have been made in the wealthier countries of the world, low or middle-income countries have only increased their consumption of the substance.
The rise in the number of smokers reflects both population growth — particularly in nations such as China and Indonesia and the effect the tobacco industry’s heavy marketing campaigns have had in poorer nations.
At one point during the study, the global smoking rate did drop from 26 percent to 18.7 percent for roughly a decade but rose again in the past three years.
Despite the global rise, the fraction of Americans who smoke has fallen by more than half, from 42 percent in 1964 to 18 percent in 2012, and though the population has grown, the number of smokers in the U.S. has also dropped, from 52 million in 1980 to 38 million in 2012.