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WHO says tobacco use rates declining worldwide; 1 in 5 adults consume tobacco

The latest World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco trends report reveals a global decline in tobacco use rates, with about 1 in 5 adults consuming tobacco compared to 1 in 3 in 2000. The report highlights success stories in 150 countries, including Brazil and the Netherlands

WHO says tobacco use rates declining worldwide; 1 in 5 adults consume tobacco
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First Published Jan 16, 2024, 3:30 PM IST

The latest World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco trends report reveals that there are approximately 1.25 billion adult tobacco users globally. Notably, trends in 2022 indicate a continued decline in tobacco use rates worldwide, with about 1 in 5 adults consuming tobacco compared to 1 in 3 in 2000. The report underscores the success of 150 countries in reducing tobacco use, particularly through the implementation of MPOWER tobacco control measures. Brazil and the Netherlands stand out as success stories, achieving relative reductions of 35% and nearing the 30% target, respectively, since 2010.

Despite progress, Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of the WHO Department of Health Promotion, emphasizes the need for sustained efforts, noting the tobacco industry's persistent pursuit of profits at the expense of countless lives.

The WHO South-East Asian Region currently reports the highest tobacco use at 26.5%, closely followed by the European Region at 25.3%. By 2030, the WHO European Region is projected to have the highest global rates, exceeding 23%.

The report highlights a concerning trend among women in the WHO European region, with tobacco use rates more than double the global average and reducing at a slower pace than in other regions.

While global tobacco use is expected to achieve a 25% relative reduction by 2025, missing the voluntary goal of 30% from the 2010 baseline, only 56 countries are projected to reach this target. Notably, six countries, including Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Oman, and the Republic of Moldova, are witnessing rising tobacco use.

The WHO calls on countries to intensify efforts in tobacco control, particularly in light of the deteriorating global efforts to protect health policy from increased tobacco industry interference, as indicated by "The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2023."

To address the persistent challenges, WHO will dedicate this year's World No Tobacco Day to protecting children from tobacco industry interference, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding future generations. The upcoming 10th Session of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of Parties in Panama will be crucial in countering the tobacco industry's influence on global health policies. 

Strengthening the WHO FCTC remains a global health priority outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals, with WHO expressing readiness to support countries in defending evidence-based tobacco control measures against industry interference.

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