The bad news for smokers is good news for those who hate smoke: It's getting harder to find cigarette-friendly vacation spots. Here's a list of countries with the most prevalent tobacco use among people 15 and older. (The U.S. rates 74th.) Nonsmokers will want to take note of the list because a smoker's paradise can be, in turn, a nonsmoker's hell.
-- Mark Milian
Highest percentage of adult smokers
*--* 1. Greece Because the country belongs to the European Union, Greeks are exposed to antismoking literature and regulations that condemn this unhealthful habit. But that's not going to stop them; 51.8% of adults smoke. 2. Nauru This tiny island republic near Papua New Guinea was previously known as Pleasant Island. That's probably because nobody told the legion of smokers about lung cancer. World Health Organization reports that 49.2% of the island's inhabitants smoke tobacco. 3. Russia Some Russians use cigarettes to trick the body into feeling warmer. It's no wonder then that 48.5% of them use tobacco. Smokers heading for the frozen land should probably take along a pack of smokes and a bottle of vodka. It's a party! 4. Austria When Californians think of Austria, their governor is likely to come to mind. At one time, he was a symbol of health and vigor. These days, you'll occasionally find him surrounded by cigar smoke. It's part of his heritage. Back home in Austria, 43.3% of adults smoke tobacco. 5. Belarus Not surprisingly, the former Soviet territory, which is bordered by Russia to the north and east, picked up the nicotine habit. Of about 9 million residents, 42.6% of the adults use tobacco. 6. Bosnia- Herzegovina Looking for a smoking-friendly place with varied climate and topography? This southeastern European country isn't a bad spot. You won't feel left out when you light up because 42.3% of adults will be right there with you. 7. Serbia As it turns out, smoking is pretty hip in southeastern Europe. Adult smoking in Serbia parallels that of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Tobacco popularity among adolescents is similar as well -- around 13%. 8. Samoa Looking for a tropical isle on which to lounge around, cigarette in hand? Forty-one percent of adults in the island nation of Western Samoa, in the Pacific Ocean, puff on tobacco. 9. Laos World Health Organization data were incomplete for Vietnam and Burma -- although what we have show strong signs of tobacco use. Meanwhile, in neighboring Laos, smokers are plentiful, making up 40.5% of the adult population. Interestingly, Laos has even fewer adolescent smokers than Greece does, amounting to just under 9%. 10. Hungary Smoking is just as prevalent in the central part of the continent as in the southeastern part. Smokers looking for a safe haven won't be alone: Hungary is a popular tourist destination. Here, 39.8% of adults smoke. *--*
Lowest percentage of adult smokers
*--* 1. Ethiopia: 4.3% 2. Ghana: 5.5% 3. Congo: 6.6% 4. Nigeria: 7.1% 5. Cameroon: 7.4%. *--*
Source: World Health Organization 2005 data; survey includes cigars, pipes and cigarettes