Male smoking falling at last

For the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the number of men who smoke is falling. The findings demonstrate how government-led action can protect communities from tobacco, save lives and prevent people suffering tobacco-related harm, it says (

During the past two decades, overall global tobacco use has fallen, from 1.397 billion in 2000 to 1.337 billion in 2018, or by approximately 60 million people, according to the WHO. This has been largely driven by reductions in the number of women smoking (346 million in 2000 down to 244 million in 2018, or a fall over around 100 million). 

Over the same period, male tobacco use had risen by around 40 million, from 1.050 billion in 2000 to 1.093 billion in 2018 (or 82% of the world’s current 1.337 billion tobacco users).

The good news is that the report shows that the number of male tobacco users has stopped growing and is projected to decline by more 5 million by 2025.

‘Declines in tobacco use in men marks a turning point in the fight against tobacco,’ says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. ‘For many years now we had witnessed a steady rise in the number of males using deadly tobacco products. But now, for the first time, we are seeing a decline in male use, driven by governments being tougher on the tobacco industry. WHO will continue working closely with countries to maintain this downward trend.’

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