There is a growing number of smokers and increased tobacco use among young teenagers and Africa, a new report on tobacco use from a public health campaign group and U.S. academics said.
This is amid a global decline of smoking rates for the first time on record, figures from the Tobacco Atlas report showed.
Globally, there are 1.1 billion smokers and 200 million more people who use other tobacco products, the report from Vital Strategies and the Tobacconomics team at the University of Illinois at Chicago revealed.
That represented a decline in smoking rates from 22.6% of people in 2007 to 19.6% in 2019, they said, the first since the report began in 2002.
The increasing numbers of smokers in Africa, the eastern Mediterranean and the Western Pacific regions is due to their population growth the report said.
Prevalence is rising among adults in at least 10 countries in Africa, as well as among young people, the report added.
“The industry is still preying on emerging economies in ways that will lock in harms for a generation or more,” said Jeffrey Drope, public health professor at the University of Illinois and a report author.
Of the 63 of 135 countries surveyed, children were also being targeted in a number of countries. This resulted in a rise in smoking and use of tobacco products among teenagers aged 13-15 (both boys and girls), he said.
The impact of new products like e-cigarettes and flavoured products was not yet fully understood in these countries.
Increased taxes amongst other tobacco control measures are the reason for falling prevalence globally, Drope said.
Many lower-income countries did not have tough enough restrictions in place, he added.
Tobacco use caused almost 8.7 million deaths worldwide in 2019, and approximately $2 trillion in economic damage, the data also showed. More than half of the deaths were currently in high-income countries.