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Visualizing The Smoking Population of Countries

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smoking population breakdown of female vs male smokers worldwide

Visualizing The Smoking Population of Countries

According to Our World in Data, about one-in-four adults around the world smoke tobacco—at least on an occasional basis. And in many countries, a majority of these smokers are men.

But just how big is the smoking gender gap, and which places have the biggest divide between men and women when it comes to smoking? This graphic by Pablo Alvarez visualizes the smoking population breakdown across the globe.

About the Dataset

The dataset is compiled by Our World in Data and uses the latest available figures (2020) that’ve been pulled from the World Bank. The data includes men and women aged 15 and over, and focuses on the world’s top 50 most populous countries.

It’s also worth highlighting that, for the purposes of this study, a smoker is defined as someone who smokes any form of tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) and includes people who smoke on a daily, non-daily, and occasional basis.

The Breakdown of Men versus Women Smokers

According to the figures in the dataset, countries in Asia and Africa seem to have the biggest gender gap when it comes to smoking.

For instance, 71% of Indonesian men smoke, while only 4% of Indonesian women use tobacco. And in China, nearly half of men are smokers, while only 2% of women smoke.

Country% of women who smoke% of men who smoke
🇮🇩 Indonesia4%71%
🇲🇲 Myanmar20%68%
🇧🇩 Bangladesh17%52%
🇨🇳 China2%49%
🇳🇷 Nauru49%47%
🇳🇵Nepal13%48%
🇪🇬 Egypt0%48%
🇻🇳 Vietnam2%47%
🇲🇾 Malaysia1%44%
🇲🇬 Madagascar13%43%
🇹🇷 Turkey19%42%
🇹🇭 Thailand3%41%
🇷🇺 Russia13%41%
🇮🇳 India13%41%
🇩🇿 Algeria1%41%
🇺🇦 Ukraine12%40%
🇵🇭 Philippines6%39%
🇦🇫 Afghanistan7%39%
🇰🇷 South Korea6%36%
🇮🇶 Iraq2%35%
🇫🇷 France32%35%
🇿🇦 South Africa6%34%
🇵🇰 Pakistan7%33%
🇾🇪 Yemen8%32%
🇯🇵 Japan10%30%
🇪🇸 Spain27%29%
🇦🇷Argentina20%29%
🇺🇸 U.S.18%28%
🇵🇱 Poland20%28%
🇲🇦 Morocco1%28%
🇮🇹 Italy20%27%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia2%26%
🇮🇷 Iran3%24%
🇩🇪 Germany20%24%
🇲🇿 Mozambique6%23%
🇨🇩 DR Congo3%23%
🇲🇽 Mexico6%20%
🇰🇪 Kenya3%20%
🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire1%18%
🇬🇧 UK14%17%
🇧🇷 Brazil9%16%
🇨🇦 Canada11%15%
🇹🇿 Tanzania3%14%
🇺🇬 Uganda4%13%
🇵🇪 Peru3%13%
🇨🇲 Cameroon1%13%
🇮🇸 Iceland12%11%
🇨🇴 Colombia5%12%
🇪🇹 Ethiopia1%9%
🇳🇬 Nigeria0%7%
🇬🇭 Ghana0%7%

In fact, nearly all the countries included in the study have more male smokers than women—However, there are a few outliers.

For example, in the small Micronesian island of Nauru, a slightly higher percentage of women smoke than men. And in Iceland, there’s a similar trend—12% of women smoke compared to 11% of men.

Despite these few anomalies, the general consensus is that men tend to smoke more than women. And according to Our World in Data, this male-bias can be seen in health statistics. For instance, research by the World Health Organization has found that men are more likely to die from lung cancer.

The Knock-on Effects of Smoking

As many people are now aware of, smoking can lead to major health problems. In fact, it’s estimated that about 15% of deaths around the world are linked to smoking—Either directly, or from second-hand smoke.

Over the last two decades, knowledge around the dangers of smoking has become more widespread, and changes to legislation has forced cigarette companies to put health warnings on their packaging.

And as discourse around smoking and its health-risks has started to circulate more rapidly, the number of smokers worldwide has started to decrease. Here’s a chart showing the drop in smokers in select countries, from 2000 to 2020:

Will the smoking population continue to drop in the next few decades, or have we reached a plateau?

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Politics

How Do Democrats and Republicans Feel About Certain U.S. Industries?

A survey looked at U.S. industry favorability across political lines, showing where Democrats and Republicans are divided over the economy.

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A cropped chart with the percentage of Democrats and Republicans that found specific U.S. industries "favorable."

Industry Favorability, by Political Party

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Much and more has been written, in the last decade particularly, about the U.S. political sphere becoming increasingly polarized. The two main parties—Democrats and Republicans—have clashed over how to run the economy, as well as on key social issues.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Democrat and Republican voters are also divided on various U.S. industries, per a YouGov poll conducted in 2022.

Between November 7-9th of that year, the market research firm polled 1,000 adult Americans, (sampled to represent prevailing demographic, racial, and political-party-affiliation trends in the country) on their opinions on 39 industries. They asked:

“Generally speaking, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the following industry?” — YouGov Poll.

In this chart we visualize the percentage with a favorable view of an industry minus those with unfavorable view, categorized by current voter status.

A higher percentage means more Democrats or Republicans rated the industry as favorable, and vice-versa. Negative percentages mean more respondents responded unfavorably.

Democrats vs. Republicans on Industry Favorability

From a glance, it’s immediately noticeable that quite a few industries have divided Democrats and Republics quite severely.

For example, of the sampled Democrats, a net 45%, found Higher Education “favorable.” This is compared to 0% on the Republican side, which means an equal number found the industry favorable and unfavorable.

Here’s the full list of net favorable responses from Democrats and Republicans per industry.

IndustryDemocrat Net
Favorability
Republican Net
Favorability
Agriculture44%55%
Trucking27%55%
Restaurant53%54%
Manufacturing27%53%
Construction23%49%
Dairy45%46%
Higher education45%0%
Technology44%36%
Food manufacturing15%37%
Transportation27%37%
Railroad37%35%
Mining-3%36%
Automotive19%36%
Grocery35%22%
Hotels30%35%
Textiles24%34%
Entertainment34%-17%
Shipping24%33%
Retail31%31%
Book publishing30%29%
Alcohol23%16%
Television22%3%
Waste management15%22%
Education services21%-16%
Wireless carriers19%19%
Broadcasting17%-30%
News media17%-57%
Airlines11%3%
Oil and gas-28%7%
Real-estate-2%6%
Utilities2%6%
Health care3%4%
Fashion4%-6%
Cable-12%3%
Finance2%-2%
Professional sports1%-2%
Insurance-12%-14%
Pharmaceutical-18%-14%
Tobacco-44%-27%

The other few immediately noticeable disparities in favorability include:

  • Mining and Oil and Gas, (more Republicans in favor),
  • Entertainment, Education Services, and News Media (more Democrats in favor).

Tellingly, the larger social and political concerns at play are influencing Democrat and Republican opinions about these parts of the economy.

For example Pew Research pointed out Republicans are dissatisfied with universities for a number of reasons: worries about constraints on free speech, campus “culture wars,” and professors bringing their politics into the classroom.

In contrast, Democrats’ criticisms of higher education revolved around tuition costs and the quality of education offered.

On a more recent note, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, a big Harvard donor, pulled funding after criticizing universities for educating “whiny snowflakes.” In October, donors to the University of Pennsylvania withdrew their support, upset with the university’s response to the October 7th attacks and subsequent war in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the reasons for differences over media favorability are more obvious. Commentators say being “anti-media” is now part of the larger Republican leadership identity, and in turn, is trickling down to their voters. Pew Research also found that Republicans are less likely to trust the news if it comes from a “mainstream” source.

But these are industries that are already adjacent to the larger political sphere. What about the others?

U.S. Politics and the Climate Crisis

The disparity over how the Oil & Gas and Mining industries are viewed is a reflection, again, of American politics and the partisan divide around the climate crisis and whether there’s a noticeable impact from human activity.

Both industries contribute heavily to carbon emissions, and Democrat lawmakers have previously urged the Biden transition to start planning for the end of fossil-fuel reliance.

Meanwhile, former President Trump, for example, has previously called global warming “a hoax” but later reversed course, clarifying that he didn’t know if it was “man-made.”

When removing the climate context, and related environmental degradation, both industries usually pay high wages and produce materials critical to many other parts of the economy, including the strategic metals needed for the energy transition.

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