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WHO says tobacco use declines globally, urges to keep enforcing tobacco control policies

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Washington: The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that nations are successfully reducing tobacco use, with about 1 in 5 adults worldwide consuming tobacco in 2022, and urged countries to continue putting in place tobacco control policies and fighting against interference by the tobacco industry.

“Trends in 2022 show a continued decline in tobacco use rates globally. With about 1 in 5 adults worldwide consuming tobacco compared to 1 in 3 in 2000. The report shows that 150 countries are successfully reducing tobacco use. Brazil and the Netherlands are seeing success after they implemented MPOWER tobacco control measures, with Brazil making a relative reduction of 35% since 2010 and the Netherlands on the verge of reaching the 30% target,” WHO said in a fresh tobacco trends report.

The report said the total number of tobacco users aged 15 years and over has declined steadily to an estimated 1.245 billion people in 2022 from 1.362 billion people in 2000 and is projected to further decrease to 1.20 billion people by 2025. At the same time, the WHO South-East Asian region and the European region have the highest percentage of tobacco users of about 26.5% and 25.3% respectively.

However, WHO said the voluntary global goal of a 30% reduction in tobacco use by 2025 will not be achieved. Only 56 countries globally will reach this goal, while the world will make it to a 25% reduction in tobacco use by 2025.

The organisation urged governments to “continue putting in place tobacco control policies and continue to fight against tobacco industry interference,” saying that “efforts to protect health policy from increased tobacco industry interference have deteriorated around the world.”

“Good progress has been made in tobacco control in recent years, but there is no time for complacency. I’m astounded at the depths the tobacco industry will go to pursue profits at the expense of countless lives. We see that the minute a government thinks they have won the fight against tobacco the tobacco industry seizes the opportunity to manipulate health policies and sell their deadly product,” the report quoted Director of WHO Department of Health Promotion Dr. Ruediger Krech as saying.

The organisation also said children aged 13-15 years old continue regularly using tobacco and nicotine products in most countries despite countries’ efforts to restrict legal access to adults only due to “easy access to purchasing” nicotine products and “low concerns about becoming addicted.”

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