Question. How many deaths were attributable to smoking in 2000 worldwide? Study design. Statistical extrapolation of epidemiological and clinical data. Main results. In the year 2000, about 12% of adults died prematurely from smoking (estimated 4.83 million uncertainty range 3.94-5.93 million). Leading causes of death attributable to smoking were cardiovascular diseases (1.69 million deaths), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (0.97 million deaths) and lung cancer (0.85 million deaths; 71% of lung cancers were smoking related). Smoking related deaths in men were about 3 times more common than women in industrial countries, and about 7 times more common in developing countries. Authors' conclusions. Smoking was a major cause of death worldwide in 2000.