Action needed to bring down world smoking rate
A report published in the renowned journal Tobacco Control has suggested that smoking levels are set to fall by only a fraction of what they could. The report outlines how, without any improvement in policy or further government action, the prevalence of smoking is set to fall by just 1.7 percent over the next 18 years. However, with the adoption of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended measures, there could be an 11% reduction in the worldwide smoking rate.
The results of the study are based on the 2010 world smoking population estimate, which stood at around 794 million smokers, equating to a global smoking rate of 24 percent. The researchers then utilised WHO data of smoking rates in the 60 countries which make up 85% of the world’s smoking population. These countries include China, Indonesia, India, the USA and the Russian Federation. According to the researchers’ calculations, the global smoking rate would fall to just under 23% in 2020 and to 22% in 2030 if governments in the studied countries took no further action to implement the WHO’s tobacco control measures.
Such measures, known collectively as MPOWER, include intervention to help people quit, warnings about the danger of tobacco products and bans on tobacco advertising/promotions.
In addition to improving health, the report suggests that the more widespread adoption of WHO measures could also prevent millions of deaths worldwide. The report’s authors commented: “As approximately half of lifetime smokers die of tobacco related diseases, implementation of MPOWER would prevent many millions of premature tobacco related deaths”.