Smoking is the root cause of one in 10 deaths worldwide – and half occur within just four countries, according to a new study.
Tobacco-related deaths accounted for 11.5 percent of all deaths in 2015, despite on-going campaign efforts to convey the negative effects of smoking on public health.
The U.S., China, India and Russia emerged as the worst offenders in the new report published by medical journal The Lancet and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These four nations accounted for 52.2 percent of all smoking-related deaths.
"Despite more than 50 years of anti-tobacco efforts, smoking remains a leading global risk factor," the report noted.
"Its toll will remain substantial without more concerted policy initiatives, policy compliance and enforcement, and sustained political will to offset commercial interests."
The pace of progress in combatting smoking has so far been varied across countries and demographics, with researchers suggesting that efforts to reduce smoking could be hindered as tobacco companies target growing populations in developing economies.
"Despite progress in some settings, the war against tobacco is far from won, especially in countries with the highest numbers of smokers," the report said.
Entitled the 'Global Burden of Disease Study', the research looked at the smoking habits of people within 195 countries between 1990 and 2015.
Almost one in seven people globally smoked daily in 2015 – one in four men and one in 20 women.