71% Protected by Tobacco Control Measures, Smoking Rates Decline

About 5.6 billion people or 71 per cent of the world population are protected by at least one best practice policy to combat the deadly effects of tobacco, noted a World Health Organisation report.

The report reveals that this milestone marks a substantial increase compared to 2007, with five times more individuals now shielded from tobacco-related harms.

IMPACT OF MPOWER TOBACCO CONTROL MEASURES

Over the last 15 years, the WHO’s MPOWER tobacco control measures have played a crucial role in reducing smoking rates worldwide. The decline in smoking has prevented an estimated 300 million people from becoming smokers today.

PROTECTING PUBLIC FROM SECOND-HAND SMOKE

The focus of the WHO report is on protecting the public from second-hand smoke, with nearly 40% of countries now having completely smoke-free indoor public places. This move has significant implications for public health, preventing adverse health effects caused by passive smoking.

LEADERS IN TOBACCO CONTROL

Two additional countries, Mauritius and the Netherlands, have achieved best-practice levels in all MPOWER measures, joining the ranks of Brazil and Türkiye. Their dedication to implementing comprehensive tobacco control policies sets an example for others to follow.

STRENGTHENING GLOBAL COMMITMENT

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, commended the progress and encouraged all countries to adopt WHO’s evidence-based best-practice policies. He acknowledged Mauritius as the first country in Africa and the Netherlands as the first in the European Union to fully implement the WHO tobacco control measures at the highest level.

SUCCESS STORIES FROM MAURITIUS AND THE NETHERLANDS

Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, attributed their success to a strong political commitment and the adoption of the MPOWER strategy, steering their country towards becoming smoke-free.

Maarten van Ooijen, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sports for the Netherlands, praised civil society organizations, health experts, and medical professionals for their role in advancing tobacco control policies. He emphasized the ongoing efforts to achieve a smoke-free generation by 2040.

SMOKE-FREE ENVIRONMENTS SAVE LIVES

Smoke-free public spaces are just one part of the comprehensive MPOWER measures, designed to help countries implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and combat the tobacco epidemic. These measures not only reduce smoking rates but also protect people from second-hand smoke, encourage quitting, and deter young individuals from starting to smoke or use e-cigarettes.

TOBACCO INDUSTRY MARKETING AND THE WAY FORWARD

While progress has been made in reducing smoking rates, the tobacco industry’s relentless marketing campaigns continue to be a significant challenge. Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, emphasized the need for continued efforts and smart policies backed by public opinion and science to improve public health and save millions of lives.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Despite the positive developments, much work remains to be done. Currently, 44 countries lack any of the MPOWER measures, and 53 countries do not have complete smoking bans in healthcare facilities. WHO urges all countries to adopt the full suite of MPOWER measures at best-practice level to fight the tobacco epidemic, which claims 8.7 million lives annually.

PREVENTABLE DEATHS FROM SECOND-HAND SMOKE

Approximately 1.3 million people die each year from second-hand smoke, all of which are entirely preventable deaths. Second-hand smoke exposure poses risks of heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers.

ACHIEVING PUBLIC HEALTH WINS

The report showcases that irrespective of income levels, all countries can make progress in curbing the demand for deadly tobacco, leading to major wins for public health and saving billions of dollars in healthcare and productivity costs.

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