Substantial population growth is blamed for the increasing number of smokers

New research has revealed the number of people in the world who smoke is growing close to one billion, despite the habit becoming less popular in many parts of the world.

The number of people smoking globally has risen from 721 million in 1980 to 967 million in 2012, according to data collected from 187 countries. This comes even as the percentage of the population smoking every day across the globe as a whole decreased.

Research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation [IHME] suggested the rise could be blamed on population growth since 1980, which now sits at seven billion.

Overall, age-standardized smoking prevalence decreased by 42 per cent for women and 25 per cent for men between 1980 and 2012. But the research found the substantial population growth between this time period contributed to a 41 per cent increase in the number of male daily smokers and a 7 per cent increase for females.

Countries such as Bangladesh, China and Russia have seen the number of smokers increase within the last few years and some of the highest rates of smoking can be found in the developing world, the research found.

More than 50 per cent of men smoke every day in several countries, including Russia, Indonesia, Armenia, and Timor Leste.

In comparison, the lowest smoking rates for men can be found in Antigua and Barbuda, Sao Tome and Principe, and Nigeria. For women, smoking rates are lowest in Eritrea, Cameroon, and Morocco.

IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said: “Despite the tremendous progress made on tobacco control, much more remains to be done.

"We have the legal means to support tobacco control, and where we see progress being made we need to look for ways to accelerate that progress. Where we see stagnation, we need to find out what’s going wrong.”

The study Smoking Prevalence and Cigarette Consumption in 187 Countries was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.