The Lancet said efforts to curb the habit had been outstripped by population growth with 150 million more people smoking in the nine years from 1990, reaching an all-time high of 1.1 billion.
Smoking killed almost 8 million people in 2019 and the number of smokers rose as the habit was picked up by young people around the world.
89% of new smokers were addicted by the age of 25 but beyond that age were unlikely to start.
Just 10 countries made up two-thirds of the world’s smoking population: China, India, Indonesia, the US, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and the Philippines.
One in three tobacco smokers (341 million) live in China.