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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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Misc

Chart: Which Countries Eat the Most Instant Noodles?

The top ranked country ate about 30 instant noodle servings per person in 2023, at a rate of slightly more than two helpings a month.

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A cropped chart showing the number of instant noodle servings consumed by country in 2023.

Chart: Which Countries Eat the Most Instant Noodles?

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.

The world collectively consumed 120 billion instant noodle servings in 2023. But which countries ate the most?

We visualize the country-level breakdown with estimated figures from the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA).

ℹ️ Established in March 1997, WINA collects and distributes data related to instant noodles for safe consumption and quality.

Ranked: Countries by their Instant Noodle Consumption

Unsurprisingly, the now second-most populous country in the world, China, (along with Hong Kong SAR) ate about 42 billion instant noodle servings in 2023. This works out to about 30 noodle helpings per person in the year.

RankCountryRegionInstant Noodle
Servings Consumed
1🇨🇳 China and
🇭🇰 Hong Kong
Asia42.2B
2🇮🇩 IndonesiaAsia14.5B
3🇮🇳 IndiaAsia8.7B
4🇻🇳 VietnamAsia8.1B
5🇯🇵 JapanAsia5.8B
6🇺🇸 U.S.North America5.1B
7🇵🇭 PhilippinesAsia4.4B
8🇰🇷 South KoreaAsia4.0B
9🇹🇭 ThailandAsia4.0B
10🇳🇬 NigeriaAfrica3.0B
11🇧🇷 BrazilSouth America2.6B
12🇷🇺 RussiaEurope/Asia2.2B
N/A🌍 Rest of WorldOther15.6B

Staying in Asia, Indonesia (14.5 billion servings), India (8.7 billion), Vietnam (8.1 billion) and Japan (5.8 billion) make up the top five.

The U.S. is the top ranked country by instant noodle consumption (5.1 billion servings) from outside Asia. There are also only two non-Asian countries in the top 10, with the other being Nigeria (3 billion portions).

Russia is the top ranked European country for instant noodle consumption, 12th overall with 2.2 billion servings.

Noodle Preferences Around the World

There’s a large variety in instant noodle brands worldwide, catering to different populations’ specific cultural and dietary habits.

For example, given Indonesia’s largely Muslim population, most noodle products are halal.

On the other hand, vegetable and tomato-based soups are eaten the most in India due to its large vegetarian population.

Meanwhile, Vietnam prefers a shrimp-flavored broth along with pho rice noodles, which are popular in the country.

To end with a fun fact, instant noodles sold in the U.S. are generally cut shorter due to most people eating them with a spoon and/or fork.

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