Globally, 942 million men and 175 million women ages 15 or older are current smokers. Nearly three quarters of male daily smokers live in countries with a medium or high human development index (HDI), whereas half of female daily smokers live in very high-HDI countries.
Male smoking prevalence in most medium- to very high-HDI countries substantially increased in the past century, though this generally happened earlier in very high-HDI countries (the first half vs. second half of the 20th century). Almost all very high-HDI countries saw a significant decrease in male smoking after the 1950s. Many medium- or high-HDI countries have also seen a decline in prevalence, but mostly a relatively moderate one from the beginning of this century. Smoking prevalence has been historically modest in most low-HDI countries, though this still translates into tens of millions of smokers.
Female smoking prevalence in very high-HDI countries peaked a few decades later than the peak in male smoking, but it has remained relatively low or had a moderate increase thus far in other countries.