Many countries are making progress in the fight against tobacco, but a new World Health Organisation report shows some are not addressing emerging nicotine and tobacco products and failing to regulate them.
The WHO, in a statement, said more than four times as many people were now covered by one WHO-recommended tobacco control measure compared to 2007.
The six measures are:
- MONITORING tobacco use and preventive measures;
- PROTECTING people from tobacco smoke;
- OFFERING help to quit;
- WARNING about the dangers of tobacco;
- ENFORCING bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and,
- RAISING taxes on tobacco.
Some 5.3 billion people are now covered by one of these measures – more than four times the one billion who were covered in 2007.
More than half of all countries and half the world’s population are now covered by two measures at the highest level of achievement.
This reflects an increase of 14 countries and almost one billion more people since the last report in 2019.
More than half of the world’s population are exposed to tobacco products with graphic health warnings.
But progress has not been even across all measures.
Some measures like raising tobacco taxes have been slow to move and 49 countries remain without any measures adopted.
For the first time, the 2021 report presents new data on electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as “e-cigarettes”.
These products are often marketed to children and adolescents by the tobacco and related industries that manufacture them, using thousands of appealing flavours and misleading claims about the products.
The WHO is concerned that children who use these products are up to three times more likely to use tobacco products in the future.
The organisation recommends governments to implement regulations to stop non-smokers from starting to use them, to prevent renormalization of smoking in the community, and to protect future generations.