Friday, August 23, 2019

Who is Still Smoking?

Despite the rise of vaping it appears that many Europeans still like to smoke. According to World Health Organization data, despite the dangers to health, smoking rates are still very high in many countries around the world. However it also appears that in many countries women are paying more attention to the dangers of smoking and are actually giving up quicker than men.

Smoking is more prevalent in Europe and the Western Pacific region is an interactive cartogram which shows smoking rates across the globe. Don't be confused by the size of the countries on this cartogram as they are actually scaled by their population not their smoking rate. This means that the larger squares do not represent the countries with the highest rates of smoking. The smoking rate in each country is actually visualized by the color of the countries. The darkest colored countries on the map are therefore the ones with the highest smoking rates.

Some of the countries with very high rates of smoking (including Peru, China, Indonesia and Egypt) actually have very low rates of smoking in the female population. This is presumably a result of prevailing sexist expectations in these countries about how females should behave. It also means that the smoking rates among the male populations in these countries is incredibly high.

Although the vast differences in smoking rates between men and women in some countries is a clear result of inherent sexist attitudes it is also true that the smoking rate for women has fallen in almost every country since 2000. This interactive chart (using the same WHO data on global smoking rates) shows where smoking rates have increased and decreased for both men and women. The chart shows that there are only two countries in the world - Russia and the Czech Republic - where the smoking rate for women has actually increased while, at the same time, decreasing among men. On the other hand there are ten countries where the female population has decreased its smoking rate at the same time as men have increased their rate of smoking.

The good news is that in the majority of countries around the world both men and women have decreased their smoking rates.

These interactive smoking rate cartograms and charts were created using the Datawrapper data visualization platform. The tool can be used to create charts, tables and map from your own data. You can explore other data visualizations created with Datawrapper on River, Datawrapper's showcase of visualizations created using its platform.

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