GlobalData’s 2021 Q1 consumer survey reveals a significant global demographic trend among smoking habits; that 38% of all respondents globally have never smoked, while a further fifth (19%) were ex-smokers who have since quit. Of the respondents within the Gen Z generational group, 64% answered that they have never smoked.

Generational trends can be seen among Gen Z and Gen Y (millennials), where the majority of respondents were ex-smokers or had never smoked before, although a sizeable portion of millennials continue to identify as smokers. In fact, current smokers are predominantly within the Gen X and Gen Y generations; 42% of Gen X respondents smoke regularly or occasionally, whereas 38% of Gen Y respondents answered likewise. Social smokers made up the smallest demographic among all generational groups, likely also impacted by the lack of social events during the pandemic.


Across all age groups, the 2021 Q1 survey indicates that 57% of respondents globally either have never smoked or have quit smoking. The same survey shows that when asked about their usage of e-cigarettes, this figure increases to 73% who reported that they have either never tried such products or have since quit using the tobacco alternative.

The survey found that e-cigarette usage was most common in Gen Y, where one in four (25%) answered that they smoke e-cigarettes occasionally or regularly, illustrating the relative greater smoking prevalence in both tobacco and tobacco alternatives in Gen Y consumers, globally.

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The  Covid-19 pandemic and its relationship with respiratory problems brought further attention to the prevalence of smoking and the further risks that it introduces to victims of the coronavirus. Although scientific studies into the link between  Covid-19 and the smoking population are ongoing, WHO sources indicate that smoking is associated with increased severity of the disease.