Smoking among Males and Females


Smoking has been considered one of the most dangerous lifestyle health risk factors. It has been proven to contribute to the incidence of cancer, cardiac, respiratory and metabolic disorders. In spite of the extensive education campaign against smoking habits, it remains to be a health threat to ant country regardless of culture, religion and origin.

In this post, a discussion is provided not to reiterate the harmful effects of smoking, but this focuses on the geo-cultural and gender influences on smoking. Although based on data, about 37% of the male population and approximately 7% of the female population. This translates to more than one out of three males and one in thirteen females are smokers.

The research is based on prevalence of smoking. It is the percentage of individuals ages 15 and over who smoke any form of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, and excluding smokeless tobacco. Data include daily and non-daily smoking. The list of the top 20 countries with the highest prevalence rate for smoking for both genders is presented below.

Country
Male Prevalence
Female Prevalence
Average
1.          Kiribati
67.00
37.00
52.00
2.          Austria
46.00
47.00
46.50
3.          Russian Federation
59.00
25.00
42.00
4.          Chile
44.00
38.00
41.00
5.          Papua New Guinea
55.00
27.00
41.00
6.          Greece
46.00
34.00
40.00
7.          Bulgaria
48.00
31.00
39.50
8.          Czech Republic
40.00
32.00
36.00
9.          Bosnia and Herzegovina
44.00
27.00
35.50
10.      France
39.00
32.00
35.50
11.      Indonesia
67.00
3.00
35.00
12.      Lithuania
43.00
25.00
34.00
13.      Sierra Leone
48.00
20.00
34.00
14.      Croatia
36.00
30.00
33.00
15.      Latvia
46.00
20.00
33.00
16.      Poland
38.00
27.00
32.50
17.      Serbia
38.00
27.00
32.50
18.      Estonia
43.00
21.00
32.00
19.      Solomon Islands
45.00
18.00
31.50
20.      Tunisia
52.00
11.00
31.50

Among the male population, Kiribati, Russia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Tunisia have the highest prevalence of smoking. While Austria, Chile, Kiribati and Greece dominated the list for the female population. Furthermore, on the list only Indonesia is the country with significantly high prevalence rate among its male population, but statistics for the female population fell below the world average. This could attributed to the Islam culture of the the country, which believes in patriarchal society and has a taboo on Muslim women smoking. However, the religion argument is no longer consistent since Balkan states with significant number of Islam adherents also have high smoking prevalence among women.

To illustrate which countries in the world with prevalence rates falling above world average for both male and female population, a map is provided below.

Interestingly most of the countries with high smoking prevalence for both male and female are found to have Soviet Union association. Baltic countries, Former USSR states (Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan) and states with either present or former strong Russian influence ( Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina). Mediterranean countries like France, Tunisia, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece are also part of the list. Noticeably, Pacific countries of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands also has the highest smoking prevalence rates. The Philippines, Nepal, the African country of Sierra Leone, and Spanish-speaking countries of Bolivia and Chile are also included in the list.

Moreover, a map is provided below, showing the countries with high smoking prevalence rates only for its male population. There seems to three common themes of the countries with a male smoking population. Firstly, these countries have strong Chinese influence. These countries include China itself, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and most of the Southeast Asian nations (excluding Singapore and the Philippines). To note, smoking in the Philippines is both prevalent among its male and female population. Secondly, most of the male-dominated smoking population are adherent of the Islam faith. This includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Libya. Although smoking in these countries is prohibited, the smoking prevalence among its male population is considered above the world average. Lastly, the rest of the list included those countries with either present and former strong Russian influence, such as Albania, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia.

On the other hand, smoking is high in the female population among countries where promotion of gender equality seems the strongest. Generally, most of the countries on the list have been part of a the largest European colonial empires in the 18th and 20th century (Spain, France, Portugal, Britain, Italy and Germany). This list includes American countries of Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina; and former British territories of Australia, New Zealand, Yemen, and south Africa. Interestingly, all Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland) have female smoking prevalence rates above world average, while its male prevalence rate falls below 37% of the world mean. In these Nordic countries, there are more male smokers still than female counterparts. Only Bahrain, a former Portuguese territory with strong Islam influence and Japan are considered unique from this list of countries. Japan, although promotes more gender equality, still is considered a patriarchal society, with known taboos against the female population. This is also true with Bahrain, being more conservative in its culture than Japan.

Data Used
Country
Males
Females
1.          Albania
48.00
5.00
2.          Algeria
28.00
2.00
3.          Argentina
30.00
16.00
4.          Armenia
47.00
2.00
5.          Australia
21.00
19.00
6.          Austria
46.00
47.00
7.          Azerbaijan
34.00
1.00
8.          Bahrain
35.00
8.00
9.          Bangladesh
48.00
2.00
10.      Barbados
13.00
2.00
11.      Belarus
50.00
11.00
12.      Belgium
31.00
23.00
13.      Belize
22.00
2.00
14.      Benin
21.00
3.00
15.      Bolivia
42.00
18.00
16.      Bosnia and Herzegovina
44.00
27.00
17.      Botswana
36.00
7.00
18.      Brazil
22.00
13.00
19.      Brunei Darussalam
32.00
4.00
20.      Bulgaria
48.00
31.00
21.      Cabo Verde
14.00
3.00
22.      Cambodia
42.00
3.00
23.      Canada
20.00
15.00
24.      Chad
20.00
4.00
25.      Chile
44.00
38.00
26.      China
47.00
2.00
27.      Colombia
31.00
5.00
28.      Comoros
25.00
2.00
29.      Congo, Dem. Rep.
16.00
5.00
30.      Congo, Rep.
9.00
3.00
31.      Costa Rica
24.00
8.00
32.      Cote d'Ivoire
16.00
9.00
33.      Croatia
36.00
30.00
34.      Cyprus
41.00
18.00
35.      Czech Republic
40.00
32.00
36.      Denmark
30.00
27.00
37.      Dominica
11.00
4.00
38.      Dominican Republic
17.00
16.00
39.      Egypt, Arab Rep.
46.00
1.00
40.      El Salvador
24.00
3.00
41.      Eritrea
13.00
1.00
42.      Estonia
43.00
21.00
43.      Finland
27.00
20.00
44.      France
39.00
32.00
45.      Gabon
19.00
3.00
46.      Gambia, The
32.00
3.00
47.      Georgia
55.00
3.00
48.      Germany
35.00
25.00
49.      Ghana
14.00
7.00
50.      Greece
46.00
34.00
51.      Guatemala
20.00
2.00
52.      Guinea
23.00
2.00
53.      Guyana
27.00
6.00
54.      Hungary
35.00
27.00
55.      Iceland
19.00
18.00
56.      India
25.00
4.00
57.      Indonesia
67.00
3.00
58.      Iran, Islamic Rep.
26.00
1.00
59.      Iraq
31.00
4.00
60.      Israel
35.00
17.00
61.      Italy
31.00
18.00
62.      Japan
34.00
11.00
63.      Jordan
47.00
6.00
64.      Kazakhstan
40.00
9.00
65.      Kenya
26.00
1.00
66.      Kiribati
67.00
37.00
67.      Kuwait
35.00
4.00
68.      Kyrgyz Republic
45.00
2.00
69.      Lao PDR
48.00
4.00
70.      Latvia
46.00
20.00
71.      Liberia
18.00
2.00
72.      Libya
45.00
1.00
73.      Lithuania
43.00
25.00
74.      Malawi
23.00
5.00
75.      Malaysia
43.00
1.00
76.      Maldives
42.00
7.00
77.      Mali
28.00
2.00
78.      Malta
31.00
20.00
79.      Marshall Islands
36.00
7.00
80.      Mauritania
29.00
4.00
81.      Mauritius
39.00
5.00
82.      Mexico
27.00
8.00
83.      Moldova
43.00
5.00
84.      Mongolia
48.00
6.00
85.      Morocco
32.00
2.00
86.      Myanmar
38.00
7.00
87.      Namibia
30.00
9.00
88.      Nepal
37.00
25.00
89.      Netherlands
29.00
23.00
90.      New Zealand
21.00
19.00
91.      Niger
9.00
1.00
92.      Nigeria
10.00
2.00
93.      Norway
28.00
26.00
94.      Oman
13.00
1.00
95.      Pakistan
38.00
7.00
96.      Panama
23.00
4.00
97.      Papua New Guinea
55.00
27.00
98.      Paraguay
30.00
8.00
99.      Philippines
44.00
10.00
100.   Poland
38.00
27.00
101.   Portugal
30.00
15.00
102.   Romania
38.00
18.00
103.   Russian Federation
59.00
25.00
104.   Sao Tome and Principe
8.00
3.00
105.   Saudi Arabia
38.00
1.00
106.   Senegal
16.00
1.00
107.   Serbia
38.00
27.00
108.   Seychelles
31.00
8.00
109.   Sierra Leone
48.00
20.00
110.   Slovak Republic
39.00
19.00
111.   Slovenia
28.00
21.00
112.   Solomon Islands
45.00
18.00
113.   South Africa
28.00
8.00
114.   Spain
33.00
27.00
115.   Sri Lanka
31.00
1.00
116.   St. Kitts and Nevis
12.00
3.00
117.   Swaziland
16.00
2.00
118.   Sweden
25.00
24.00
119.   Switzerland
31.00
22.00
120.   Thailand
46.00
3.00
121.   Togo
14.00
2.00
122.   Tonga
43.00
12.00
123.   Tunisia
52.00
11.00
124.   Turkey
42.00
13.00
125.   Uganda
16.00
3.00
126.   Ukraine
49.00
14.00
127.   United Kingdom
22.00
22.00
128.   Uruguay
29.00
21.00
129.   Uzbekistan
22.00
3.00
130.   Vanuatu
43.00
8.00
131.   Vietnam
46.00
2.00
132.   West Bank and Gaza
39.00
3.00
133.   Yemen, Rep.
35.00
11.00
134.   Zambia
24.00
4.00
135.   Zimbabwe
25.00
1.00

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