WHO’s tobacco report, over 8 million deaths per year

Tobacco is one of humanity’s most harmful habits. The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its 9th global report on tobacco addiction recently. The report stated that approximately half of tobacco users died, and that “Tobacco kills more than 8 million people every year. This includes 1.3 million passive smokers exposed to cigarette smoke.The statement noted that about 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users lived in low and middle-income countries. It also highlights that in 2020, 22.3% of the global population used tobacco, with 36.7% of men and 7.8% of women being addicts.

The report further revealed that 5.6 billion people, equivalent to 71% of the world’s population, were protected by at least one of the best policies to save lives from deadly tobacco use, which is a fivefold increase from 2007.

According to the statement, thanks to the tobacco control strategy introduced by the WHO under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) called MPOWER over the past 15 years, there has been a decrease in tobacco use. The statement mentioned that “If this decrease had not occurred, there would be an estimated 300 million more smokers in the world today.” The report highlighted the focus on protecting the public from secondhand smoking, with “completely smoke-free indoor areas in public places” existing in nearly 40% of countries.

The report emphasized that smoke-free environments contributed to clean air, protecting people from deadly secondhand smoke, and motivating individuals to quit smoking. It also states that these environments did not normalize smoking and helped prevent young people from starting smoking or using e-cigarettes.

Regarding the progress of countries in tobacco control, the report ranked Mauritius and the Netherlands as achieving the highest level of implementation in all MPOWER measures, a status previously attained only by Brazil and Türkiye. The report also pointed out that 44 countries had not implemented MPOWER measures and were therefore unprotected in terms of tobacco health. It also states that 53 countries had not fully enforced the ban on smoking in health facilities.

The report noted that WHO member countries had adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003, and currently, 182 countries were parties to this agreement.

“The WHO’s policies show that more people are being protected from the harms of tobacco.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whose views were included in the report, stated, “These data show that as a result of WHO’s evidence-based policies, more people are being protected from the harms of tobacco, albeit slowly but steadily.” Ghebreyesus also congratulated Mauritius for being the first country in Africa and the Netherlands for being the first country in the European Union to implement all WHO tobacco control policies at the highest level.

WHO Director of Health Promotion and Development Rudiger Krech emphasized that tobacco use caused 8.7 million deaths worldwide each year. Krech then called on all countries to implement all MPOWER measures to combat the tobacco epidemic effectively and to fight against the lobbying efforts of the tobacco and nicotine industries against these public health measures.

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