Across the world today, estimates suggest there are 25 million boys between the ages of 13-15 who smoke. There are 13 million girls smoking in the same age range. The rate of smoking among boys 13-15 is often lower than the rate among men 15+. However, in many countries the rate of smoking among girls 13-15 is higher than among women over 15. In many high-Human Development Index (HDI) countries, the youth smoking rate is declining. In contrast, the youth smoking rate has increased in a number of low-HDI countries.

In many countries, cigarettes are not the only or most prevalent form of youth tobacco smoking. For example, in countries in Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and sub-Saharan Africa, the rates of youth tobacco use are higher for waterpipe, smokeless, and bidis than for cigarettes