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The Financial Express

Tobacco users fall globally, but still 'long way to go': WHO

| Updated: November 24, 2021 20:39:48


Tobacco users fall globally, but still 'long way to go': WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the number of tobacco users around the world has dropped from 1.32 billion in 2015 to 1.30 billion.

This number is expected to drop to 1.27 billion by 2025, according to the health agency’s fourth global tobacco trends report.

Sixty countries are now on track to achieving the voluntary global target of a 30 per cent reduction in tobacco use between 2010 and 2025.  Two years ago, only 32 countries were on track, reports Reuters.

Millions of lives have been saved by effective and comprehensive tobacco control policies under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and MPOWER – a great achievement in the fight against the tobacco epidemic, the agency said.

“It is very encouraging to see fewer people using tobacco each year, and more countries on track to meet global targets,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We still have a long way to go, and tobacco companies will continue to use every trick in the book to defend the gigantic profits they make from peddling their deadly wares. We encourage all countries to make better use of the many effective tools available for helping people to quit, and saving lives.”

The agency also urged countries to accelerate the implementation of the measures outlined in the WHO FCTC in an effort to further reduce the number of people at risk of becoming ill and dying from a tobacco-related disease.

A new WHO Global Investment Case for Tobacco Cessation, highlights that investing $1.68 per capita each year in evidence-based cessation interventions such as brief advice, national toll-free quit lines, and SMS-based cessation support, could help 152 million tobacco users successfully quit by 2030, saving millions of lives and contributing to countries’ long-term economic growth.

To facilitate this process, WHO has established a tobacco cessation consortium, which will bring together partners to support countries in scaling up tobacco cessation.

The report and the investment case are released right after the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) and during the second session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP2) to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

Delegates meet to counter the ambitions of the tobacco industry to keep millions hooked on its products, as recent evidence also show that the tobacco industry used the COVID-19 pandemic to build influence with governments in 80 countries.

KEY FINDINGS

In 2020, 22.3 per cent of the global population used tobacco, 36.7 per cent of men and 7.8 per cent women

Currently, 60 countries are on track to achieve the tobacco use reduction target by 2025. Since the last report two years ago, two other regions – the African and South-East Asian regions - have now joined the Americas region on track to achieve a 30 per cent reduction

Approximately 38 million children (aged 13-15) currently use tobacco (13 million girls and 25 million boys).  In most countries, it is illegal for minors to purchase tobacco products

The number of women using tobacco in 2020 was 231 million. The age group with the highest prevalence rate among women for tobacco use is 55-64.

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