Per capita manufactured cigarette consumption is a useful index for inter-country comparisons, but with some limitations. For example, it takes no account of country-specific smoking behaviours such as use of roll-your-own tobacco, smokeless tobacco, or locally-produced tobacco which is traded external to official economies where customs and excise can be levied. The weight of tobacco per cigarette and, thus, tar and nicotine levels (remembering that smokers mostly smoke to achieve a desired blood level of nicotine) also vary between countries. Australian manufactured cigarettes are the lightest in the world, because federal government excise is currently levied on the weight of tobacco used in cigarettes (see also Chapter 5, Section 2 and Chapter 7, Section 2).
Table 2.4 gives per capita manufactured cigarette consumption for selected countries.(18) While consumption is falling in many economically developed countries, it is growing in a number of developing regions, and expanding overall. One tobacco industry source has estimated that global growth in consumption will be at around 0.5% per year between 1990 and 2000.(19) According to the World Health Organization, tobacco consumption in developing countries is currently rising by more than 2% annually,(20) and the World Bank has predicted an overall increase in consumption in developing countries of about 12% between 1990 and 2000.(21) Smoking prevalence trends in other countries are discussed in Chapter 1, Section 10.