WHO Says Global Tobacco Use Declining, Warns of Threats from Major Companies

Tue Jan 16 2024
icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday that the number of adult tobacco users worldwide has gradually decreased in recent years. However, the organization cautioned that major tobacco companies are actively working to reverse this positive trend.

According to the WHO, in 2022, approximately one in five adults globally were smokers or consumed other tobacco products, compared to one in every three in 2000. A new report analyzing trends in tobacco use between 2000 and 2030 revealed that 150 countries have successfully reduced tobacco use. While smoking rates are decreasing in most nations, the WHO highlighted that tobacco-related deaths are expected to remain high for years.

Despite the decline in smokers, the world is expected to fall short of its goal of a 30-percent reduction in tobacco use between 2010 and 2025. The report identified 56 countries, including Brazil, as likely to achieve the target, with Brazil already reducing tobacco use by 35 percent since 2010. In contrast, six countries, including the Republic of Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Moldova, and Oman, have experienced a rise in tobacco use since 2010.

Tobacco Control Efforts

While celebrating progress, the WHO underscored the industry’s efforts to undermine these gains. Ruediger Krech, director of the WHO’s health promotion department, emphasized, “Good progress has been made in tobacco control in recent years, but there is no time for complacency.” He expressed astonishment at the lengths the tobacco industry goes to pursue profits at the expense of lives, noting their tendency to exploit opportunities when governments believe they have won the fight against tobacco.

The WHO called on all countries to maintain and strengthen control policies, emphasizing the need to combat “tobacco industry interference.” The report particularly highlighted the importance of collecting better data on tobacco use among adolescents, focusing on new smokeless products.

The available data indicates that around 10 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds globally use tobacco, but this figure may be underestimated due to the lack of data from over 70 countries. The WHO emphasized the significance of gathering accurate data to counter industry claims and shape effective policies preventing the initiation of tobacco use among young people.


icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp