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Researchers confirm global smoker numbers hit record total of 1.1 billion

A worldwide study has recorded the highest ever number of smokers with 1.1billion people labelled as tobacco addicts in 2019.

The investigation has revealed a decline in smoker levels from 1990, however the escalating population has resulted in a 10 per cent increase.

The number of people smoking is rumoured to be falling but The World Health Organization (WHO) still approximates 1.3billion smokers.

Academics disclose that a third of smokers worldwide are from China with 341million Chinese people being linked to the addiction.

Researchers have also found that around 10 million Brits are thought to be smokers.

Globally smoking related harm has caused 7.7 million deaths with cancer, heart disease and strokes being the predominant causes of death.

Medical professionals have become alarmed by the rapid growth of young smokers across the world.

Experts have said limiting the amount of tobacco use amongst the younger generation is vital.

The research analysis is available in The Lancet where it explores 3,625 global surveys.

Data from the study was gathered from 204 countries and amongst people over the age of 15.

The examination explored different topics such as associated diseases, age of initiation and risks among current and ex-smokers.

Senior author Emmanuela Gakidou said: “Persistently high smoking prevalence among young people, along with the expansion of new tobacco and nicotine products, highlight an urgent need to double down on tobacco control.

“If a person does not become a regular smoker by age 25, they are very unlikely to become a smoker.

“This presents a critical window of opportunity for interventions that can prevent young people from starting smoking and improve their health for the rest of their lives.”

Global data from 2019 shows that 155million people who smoke are aged between 15 and 24.

Fellow academic Marissa Reitsma said: “With nine out of 10 smokers starting before the age of 25, ensuring that young people remain smoke-free through their mid-20s will result in radical reductions in smoking rates for the next generation.”

Deborah Arnott chief executive of ASH said: “Raising the age of sale to 21 could protect more than 100,000 people from a lethal addiction which many will struggle their whole lives to quit.”

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