CAPE TOWN – The fourth World Health Organisation (WHO) global tobacco trends report released on Monday, shows that there are 1.30 billion tobacco users globally compared to 1.32 billion in 2015, with this number expected to drop to 1.27 billion by 2025.
According to the report, sixty countries are now on track to achieve the voluntary global target of a 30 percent reduction in tobacco use between 2010 and 2025: two years ago only 32 countries were on track.
The WHO says millions of lives have been saved by effective and comprehensive tobacco control policies under its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and MPOWER – 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,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.
“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.”
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,” director of the WHO Department of Health Promotion, Dr Ruediger Krech, says.
“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.”
According to the report, some key findings of the WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000–2025 were:
In 2020, 22.3 percent of the global population used tobacco, 36.7 percent of all men and 7.8 percent of the world’s women.
Africa has the lowest average rate of tobacco use at 10 percent in 2020, down from 15 percent in 2010.
The report found that one in three countries are likely to achieve the 30 percent reduction target, and low-income countries are currently achieving the most progress against tobacco.
Upper middle-income countries are, on average, making the slowest progress in reducing tobacco use.
In some 29 countries, data quality is low or insufficient to know the trend, so more monitoring is needed.
The data behind these estimates are from 1,728 national surveys run by countries between 1990 and 2020, which together asked 97 percent of the world’s population about their tobacco use.
– African News Agency