Report: 1 Billion People Smoke Tobacco, 240 Million Adults Suffer Alcohol-related Disorders Worldwide

May 12, 2015|2:51 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Alcohol use and tobacco smoking are the most prevalent and harmful addictive behaviors worldwide, according to the world’s first comprehensive report on global addictions.

"This data is highly valuable and can be used to guide policymakers and researchers in planning responses to addictions worldwide," said the report’s lead author Associate Professor Linda Gowing.

To compile the report, researchers at the University of Adelaide culled global, regional, and national information on the prevalence of alcohol use, drug use, and gambling and their associated harms.

They found that almost 5 percent of adults worldwide suffer from alcohol use disorder, and an estimated 22.5 percent of the world’s population smoke tobacco products. Researchers estimate that tobacco causes 11 percent of deaths in men globally and 6 percent of deaths in women every year.

Also, an estimated 174 million people worldwide use cannabis, making it the most prevalent unsanctioned psychoactive drug, followed by cocaine-type and amphetamine-type stimulants. The report found that about 15 million people inject drugs.

Many countries don’t have gambling data available, so researchers couldn’t estimate the rate of global gambling addictions. However, they found that about 1.5 percent of people engage in problem gambling in countries with available data.