Tuesday 19 October 2021

Tobacco use ‘declining but action needed to control efforts’

ABU DHABI, March 18, 2015

Non-smoking is becoming the new norm worldwide, according to the new online WHO Global Report on Trends in Tobacco Smoking, launched today during the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) which will run till March 21.

The conference is  focussing on tobacco control and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), namely lung and heart diseases, cancers and diabetes.

The report finds that in 2010, there were 3.9 billion non-smokers aged 15 years and over in WHO member states. This number is projected to rise to five billion (or 81 per cent of the projected 6.1 billion population aged more than 15) by 2025 if the current pace of tobacco cessation continues.

This trend indicated countries are making inroads, but much greater action is needed to curb the tobacco epidemic if the global target to cut tobacco consumption by 30 per cent by 2025 to reduce premature deaths from NCDs is to be met.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said: “In an ominous trend, in some countries the battle between tobacco and health has moved into the courts

“Governments wishing to protect their citizens through larger pictorial warnings on cigarette packs or by introducing plain packaging are being intimidated by industry’s threats of lengthy and costly litigation. This is an effort to deprive governments of their sovereign right to legislate in the public interest. We will push back hard.


Meanwhile, a new study on global trends and projections for tobacco use published in The Lancet ahead of the WCTOH found that the prevalence of men smoking tobacco products has fallen in 125 countries between 2000 and 2010, and in 156 countries for women.

However, based on current trends, only 37 countries are on track to achieve the 30 per cent tobacco reduction target set out in the Global Action Plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020. 

Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat, said: “The global movement against the tobacco epidemic is strong, and the downward trends in tobacco use are a testament to that fact.

“We see many countries are taking steps to beat back the influence of the tobacco industry. But if we are to achieve targets set by governments to reduce tobacco consumption by 30 per cent by 2025, intensified action will be needed to implement all the provisions of the WHO FCTC. This is a warning call to countries to step up the fight against the tobacco industry.”

WHO is co-sponsoring the conference in close collaboration with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Secretariat.

The key issues for discussion included global progress in implementation of the WHO FCTC; governments’ progress to meet the global target of reducing tobacco consumption by 30 per cent by 2025; the need for parties to the FCTC to ratify the protocol on the illicit trade of tobacco products and speed up its entry into force; the continued fight against the tobacco industry; and promoting core demand reduction measures of the WHO FCTC.

The report on NCDs stated that 38 million lives were lost to NCDs in 2012, with nearly three quarters occurring in low- and middle-income countries, and 16 million (42 per cent) being premature (people dying before the age of 70 years) - up from 14.6 million in 2000.

Tobacco accounts for about one in 10 deaths, and up to half of current users will die from the effects of tobacco consumption: or six million deaths per year.

Dr Ala Alwan, regional director of WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean office, said: “Most of these premature deaths could have been prevented through action on tackling the four main risk factors – unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and tobacco use.

“By curbing access to and controlling, with a view to ending, the addictive use of tobacco, countries will witness a dramatic reduction in premature deaths from NCDs.” - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Smoking | WHO | Tobacco | non |

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