The typical Egyptian family spends six percent of its monthly income on tobacco, according to a survey released on Thursday that was carried out in coordination with the World Health Organisation.

"Six percent of the family income is spent on tobacco, perhaps more than on health and education," said Ahmad Abdellatif, the WHO representative for Egypt, calling it a "heavy economic burden" for the Arab world's most populated state.

The average smoker spends 110 pounds (20 dollars) a month on tobacco, according to the survey of more than 23,500 homes across Egypt conducted in 2009 by WHO, Egypt's health ministry and its statistics institute.

"Twenty percent of adults smoke in Egypt," Abdellatif told reporters, referring to over 15 year olds, while the rate of tobabbo use was 38 percent for men.

The survey found that at least 70 percent of those questioned said they were subjected to passive smoking at home or at the workplace.