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Worldwide smokers near one billion

The total number of smokers across the world is nearing on one billion, global figures have revealed. 

Data from 187 countries shows that in 2012 967 million people smoked every day, compared with 721 million in 1980. 

Researchers told JAMA that the rise is linked to population growth. Large countries such as Bangladesh, China and Russia have seen increasing number of inhabitants taking up smoking in recent years. 

And some of the highest smoking rates are now in the developing world. Countries with the highest smoking prevalence include East Timor, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. 

Places with the lowest smoking prevalence are Antigua and Barbuda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana. 

Lead researcher Dr Christopher Murray told the BBC: "Despite the tremendous progress made on tobacco control, much more remains to be done."

Amanda Sandford of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said: "As the overall number of smokers worldwide is still rising, this study shows how important it is for all countries to implement a range of tobacco control measures to curb the terrible toll of tobacco-related illness and death.

"Low and middle-income countries in particular face an enormous challenge to fend off the powerful tobacco industry and stop smoking rates escalating.”

Globally, an estimated 6.25 trillion cigarettes were smoked by people during the year 2012 compared with 4.96 trillion in 1980.