WHO publishes Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic (19 July 2017)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2017: Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies.

Background Information:

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is WHOs flagship program against tobacco. In 2008, the WHO established MPOWER to promote government action on six tobacco control strategies in-line with the WHO FCTC to:

  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies.
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke.
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use.
  • Warn people about the dangers of tobacco.
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • Raise taxes on tobacco.

The new report focuses on monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies.

Key Messages:

As of 2016 only about one third of countries, with a total of 2.9 billion people, have comprehensive monitoring systems in place at best practice level. The comprehensive level requires recent, representative and periodic surveys for both adults and youth to have taken place.

43% of the world’s population (3.2 billion people) are covered by two or more MPOWER measures at the highest level, nearly seven times as many people as in 2007.

Eight countries, including five low- and middle-income countries, have implemented four or more MPOWER measures at the highest level (Brazil, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ireland, Madagascar, Malta, Panama, Turkey and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

Monitor: Nepal, India and the Philippines are among countries that conducted WHO-backed initiatives to monitor tobacco use and then implemented measures to protect people from tobacco.

  • Nepal introduced the world’s largest health warnings on tobacco packaging surfaces (covering 90% of the package) in May 2015 after using a set of household tobacco survey questions that allowed authorities to detect a high prevalence of adult male smokers and users of smokeless products.
  • India launched a nationwide tobacco cessation programme and toll-free quit line in 2016 after conducting a “global adult tobacco survey” in 2009–10 that revealed high interest among almost 1 in 2 smokers and users of smokeless products to quit eventually.
  • The Philippines’ landmark Sin Tax Reform Law was passed in 2012 after its 2009 national adult tobacco survey showed high smoking rates among men (47.4%) and boys (12.9%). Such strong tobacco demand reduction measures have contributed to declining tobacco use, according to its 2015 adult tobacco survey results.

Protect: Comprehensive smoke-free legislation is currently in place for almost 1.5 billion people in 55 countries. Since 2007, dramatic progress has been witnessed in low- and middle-income countries, 35 of which have adopted a complete smoke-free law since 2007.

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Offer: Appropriate cessation treatment is in place for 2.4 billion people in 26 countries.

Warn: More people are protected by strong graphic pack warnings than by any other MPOWER measure, covering almost 3.5 billion people in 78 countries – almost half the global population (47%).

Warn: 3.2 billion people live in a country that aired at least one comprehensive national anti-tobacco mass media campaign in the last 2 years.

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Enforce: Bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship interfere with the tobacco industry’s ability to promote and sell its products, and reduce tobacco use. But only 15% of the world’s population is currently covered by a comprehensive ban.

Raise: Raising taxes to increase tobacco product prices is the most effective and cost-efficient means of reducing tobacco use and encouraging users to quit. But it is one of the least used tobacco control measures.

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Useful Links:

Link to the WHO news release:

http://who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/tobacco-report/en/

Link to the WHO Report (English)[PDF]:

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/255874/1/9789241512824-eng.pdf

Link to infographics based on the report:

http://who.int/tobacco/global_report/2017/infographics/en/

Link to WHO page based on the Report:

http://who.int/tobacco/global_report/en/

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