Observatory of the National Policy on Tobacco Control

Data and smoking numbers

Last updated: 07/15/2021 | 15h55


The National Policy on Tobacco Control in Brazil contributed to a significant decline in adult smoker’s percentage. In 1989, 34.8 % of the population above 18 years used to smoke. A significant decline was observed in 2003, when the percentage was 22.4 %2. In 2008 this percentage was 18.5%. The latest data, to 2013, indicate the percentage of 14.7% adult smokers. Considering the period 1998-2010 the percentage of smokers in Brazil decrease 46% and 420,000 deaths were avoided.(1) (2) (3).

In addition to household surveys presented above, the percentage of smokers in Brazil is also estimated since 2006 through annual monitoring by phone - Annual Surveys on Risk and Protective Factors for Chronic Diseases (VIGITEL). This survey is conducted in 26 Brazilian capitals and the Federal District with adults 18 years or more by telephone line.  According to data from 2016 Vigital, the smokers percentage aged 18 or more in Brazil is 10.2%, represented by 12.7% of men and 7,3% of women.

According to 2012 National Survey on Student Health (PeNSE), 19.6% of students had experimented cigarettes. The highest frequency of experimentation was in the Southern region (28.6%) and lowest in the Northeast (14.9%). There was no significant difference in gender distribution. It was higher among students in public schools (20.8%), than private schools (13.8%). It also showed that a number of students who have experienced smoking at least once in life decreased from 24.2% in 2009 to 22.3% in 2012. The data include not only the Capital, but other municipalities too (4) (5).

Diseases, mortality and costs 

Among the diseases that cause more deaths in Brazil, the cardiovascular diseases are at first place (more than 29% per year) and cancer is in the second place (more than 15% per year). The data to 2003 indicate the lung cancer it’s the cancer that cause more deaths in men and is the second cause to death in women with cancer disease.

A study conducted by a researcher at the Fiocruz Marcia Pinto based on 2011 monetary values, entitled "The burden of smoking-related diseases in Brazil", estimated the cost attributable to smoking was 21 billion Reais a year to the health system. The study analyzed a total of 2,442,038 diseases and of these, 34% were attributable to smoking (6).

In 2015, the same researcher published the article " The burden of smoking-related diseases in Brazil: mortality, morbidity and costs" which evaluated the Years of Life Lost (YLL) attributable to smoking at the population level, and estimated two components: Potential Years of Life lost due to premature death (YPLL) and YLL to live with reduced quality of life (YLL-QOL). With the inclusion of these variables the total cost to the health system attributable to smoking spent reached 23.3 billion Reais per year (7).

The data from the 2011 survey were updated and its results showed that in the year 2015, smoking generated health care costs associated with smoking in Brazil by almost 40 billion reais, equivalent to 8.04% of all expenses in Health, and indirect costs reached more than 17 billion reais due to productivity lost due to premature death and disability. Total results point to an annual loss of 56 billion reais, equivalent to 0.96% of national GDP. On the other hand, the total tax revenue from the sale of tobacco and derivatives products reached approximately 13 billion reais in 2015, an amount that covers only 33% of the direct costs caused by smoking to the health system, which represents only 23% Of the total expenditure attributable to smoking (8).

"Deaths from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) accounted for 81% and 78%, respectively, while 21% of deaths from heart disease and 18% for stroke were also associated with this risk factor (tobacco). All the tumors revealed that 31% of deaths were due to the consumption of tobacco. Secondhand smoking and perinatal causes totaled 16,920 deaths". In 2011, there were 147.072 deaths from tobacco related diseases (6).

Tobacco Production

Between 1990 and 2003, Brazil produced an average of 554,000 tons of tobacco a year. Since 2004, Brazil has achieved a higher level of production when compared to previous years, maintaining a volume of 800-900 thousand tons per year.

Between 2006 and 2013, production fluctuated and showed slight decline. Production in 2010 was the lowest since 2006. In 2015, Brazil produced 867.355 tons of tobacco leaf. The evolution chart can be found by the path: DADOS E NÚMEROS/PRODUÇÃO DE FUMO, graphic 1.

The Tobacco Growers Association of Brazil (Afubra) already alerts a declining perspective in the upcoming years.

According to Afubra, in the last ten years, the number of tobacco growers (families) was reduced by 18%. In the same period, the planted area in hectares decreased by 26%.

Brazil is the second largest tobacco producer in the world. The first producer is China.

Tobacco Exportation

Data from national tobacco exports extracted from Aliceweb2, Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC) system, indicate that Brazil had exported in the first half of the last decade (2000 to 2004), an average of 353,000 tons per preprocessed tobacco year. From 2007, the country has raised this amount to over 500 thousand tons, higher than had been observed. In 2010, there was a decrease in the amount of exported tobacco, but the trend of exports of tobacco pre and post-processing grew until 2012. In 2013 it is noticed a slight drop in the volume of exports, which was confirmed in 2014 (-24%), achieving a volume even lower than in 2010.

According to 2016 data, the main importing countries are: Belgium (19%), United States (11%), China (9%), Russia (7%), the Netherlands (4%), and Paraguay (3%).

The evolution chart can be found by the path: Dados e Números/Eexportação de Fumo, graphic 1

Per Capita Consumption

The apparent official per capita consumption of cigarettes decreased by 65% between 1980 and 2010 (the downward trend began in the late 90's, from which we observe a more intense and continuous decrease in consumption). In 2015, Brazil had the lower per capita cigarette consumption (369 units) of the whole period.

The consumption decrease directly affected the production of cigarette packs containing 20 units, according to the Federal Revenue Secretariat. Between 2007 and 2016, there was a 53% decrease in cigarette production.

The evolution chart can be found by the path: Dados e Números/Consumo per capita, graphic 1.


(1) Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística-MPOG e Insituto Nacional de Câncer-MS. (2009, 11 11). Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios-Tabagismo-PETab. Retrieved Jully 15, 2021, from Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística:


(2) Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística-MPOG e Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-MS. (2014, 01 15). Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde 2013-Percepção do estado de saúde, estilos de vida e doenças crônicas. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde:


(3) Instituto Nacional de Alimentação e Nutrição-MS. (1990, setembro 15). Pesquisa Nacional sobre Saúde e Nutrição: perfil da população brasileira de 0 a 25 anos. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from Portal da Saúde: 


(4) Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística-MPOG e Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde-MS. (2009, 12 30). Pesquisa Nacional da Saúde do Escolar 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística: 


(5) Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística-MPOG e Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde-MS. (2012, 12 20). Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística-Estimativas de População: 


(6) Márcia Teixeira Pinto, A. P.-R. (2012). ACT+. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from:


(7) Pinto, M., Riviere, A., & Bardach, A. (2015). A Estimativa da Carga do Tabagismo no Brasil: mortalidade, morbidade e custos. Caderno de Saúde Pública 31(6), 1283-1297. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from:


(8)  Pinto M, Bardach A, Palacios A, Biz AN, Alcaraz A, Rodríguez B, Augustovski F, Pichon-Riviere A. Carga de doença atribuível ao uso do tabaco no Brasil e potencial impacto do aumento de preços por meio de impostos. Documento técnico IECS N° 21. Instituto de Efectividad Clínica y Sanitaria, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Maio de 2017. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from: 


(9) Iglesias,R., Szklo,A., Souza,M., Almeida,L. (2016). Estimating the size of illicit tobacco consumption in Brazil: findings from the global adult tobacco survey. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from PubMed Disponível em: