The fourth World Health Organisation (WHO) global tobacco trends report released on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, shows that there are 1.30 billion tobacco users globally compared to 1.32 billion in 2015. This number is expected to drop to 1.27 billion by 2025, according to the WHO.
The global health body adds that 60 countries are now on track to achieving the voluntary global target of a 30% reduction in tobacco use between 2010 and 2025: two years ago only 32 countries were on track.
According to the WHO, 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 – tagged “a great achievement” in the fight against the tobacco epidemic.
“It is very encouraging to see fewer people using tobacco each year, and more countries on track to meet global targets,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“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,” he added.
The report also urges countries to accelerate 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.
“It is clear that tobacco control is effective, and we have a moral obligation to our people to move aggressively in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of WHO Department of Health Promotion. “We are seeing great progress in many countries, which is the result of implementing tobacco control measures that are in line with the WHO FCTC, but this success is fragile. We still need to push ahead.”
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 of 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.