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Diseases linked to smoking include:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • lung cancer
  • coronary artery disease
  • stroke

Approximately a half of all life-long smokers will die of smoking related diseases (1).

Smoking in young adults (3)

Reitsma et al modelled two indicators:

      • prevalence of current smoking tobacco use among young adults aged 15-24 years
      • age at which current smokers aged 20-54 years in 2019 began smoking regularly
    • synthesised data from 3625 nationally representative surveys on prevalence of smoking and 254 on age at initiation

Study results:

  • globally in 2019
    • an estimated 155 million (95% uncertainty interval 150-160) individuals aged 15-24 years were tobacco smokers
      • with a prevalence of 20.1% (19.4-20.8) among males and 4.95% (4.64-5.29) among females
    • estimated that:
      • 82.6% (82.1-83.1) of current smokers initiated between ages 14 and 25 years
      • 18.5% (17.7-19.3) of smokers began smoking regularly by age 15 years
  • although some countries have made substantial progress in reducing the prevalence of smoking tobacco use among young people, prevalence in 2019 still exceeds 20% among males aged 15-24 years in 120 countries and among females aged 15-24 years in 43 countries

Calculating the number of cigarettes a day (4):


  1. British Heart Foundation (Factfile 8/2001). Stopping smoking - evidence-based guidance
  2. NHS Digital. Statistics on Smoking, England - 2019.
  3. Reitsma MB et al. Spatial, temporal, and demographic patterns in prevalence of smoking tobacco use and initiation among young people in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019. Lancet Public Health 2021 (May 27th 2021)
  4. All Wales Medicines Strategy Group. Initial Clinical Management of Adult Smokers in Secondary Care. June 2021.

Last edited 06/2021