About 7.69 million people died worldwide in 2019 from different smoking-related diseases, an estimate by an international team of researchers show.
China accounted for the largest number of deaths - 2.42 million, nearly 30% of the world total - followed by India at 1.01 million, the US at 530,000, Russia at 290,000 and Indonesia at 250,000, according to the estimate published in the British medical journal The Lancet.
The study, which analysed data from over 3,000 health surveys covered more than 200 countries and regions.
The team found the number of smokers in the world topped 1.1 billion in 2019, with 7 trillion cigarettes consumed annually.
Although smoking rates are on a downward trend in developed countries, the number of smokers is on the rise in developing countries, including those in Africa, where the population is growing rapidly.
The most common diseases that directly caused deaths among smokers were ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and strokes. Smoking is known to increase the risk of developing these diseases.
However, the estimate does not include the health damage caused by second hand smoke.
The team also found that 87 per cent of the deaths were in people who continued smoking, and only 6.0 per cent were people who had quit smoking more than 15 years before their deaths.
As the tobacco industry is developing marketing strategies targeting youths to promote items such as flavoured cigarettes and e-cigarettes, banning the sale of such products will help reduce the number of young smokers, the team said and called for measures such as higher tobacco taxes and advertising restrictions.