By Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, April 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 1 billion people worldwide still smoke each day, even though there has been a large decrease in smoking over the past few decades, researchers say.
"Robust tobacco control efforts have led to progress in reducing the deadly habit of smoking in much of the world, but much more can be done," said Emmanuela Gakidou, senior author of a new study. She is professor of global health at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle.
Smoking fell 28 percent among men and 34 percent among women between 1990 and 2015, the study showed.
However, the number of people who use cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes and other smoked tobacco products each day in 2015 was 933 million, the study found.
"Growth in the sheer number of daily smokers still outpaces the global decline in daily smoking rates, indicating the need to prevent more people from starting the tobacco habit and to encourage smokers to quit," Gakidou said in an institute news release.
The study found that the three countries with the most men who smoke daily are China (254 million), India (91 million) and Indonesia (50 million).
The three countries with the highest number of women who smoked daily are the United States (17 million), China (14 million) and India (13.5 million).
Thirteen countries had significant yearly declines in smoking between 1990 and 2015, including the United States, Australia and Brazil. There were also major decreases between 2005 and 2015 in 18 countries, including Chile, Nepal and Ukraine.
Smoking is the second-leading cause of death worldwide. It accounted for more than 11 percent (6.4 million) of all deaths in 2015, the study found. More than half of those smoking-related deaths occurred in just four countries: China, India, Russia and the United States.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said, "With sustained commitment to implementing proven measures to reduce tobacco use, governments can help curb a global epidemic projected to kill 1 billion people this century."
The study findings were published April 5 in The Lancet.