Tobacco control reaping benefits despite global rise to one billion smokers

Posted April 07, 2017

In 2015, 11.5 per cent of global deaths (6·4 million) were attributable to smoking worldwide, of which 52·2 per cent took place in four countries (China, India, the United States of America, and Russia).

Despite decades of tobacco control policies, population growth has seen an increased number of smokers, it warned.

The study has documented a 2.2 per cent annualised reduction in daily smoking in women and 3.1 per cent in men in India between 2005 and 2015.

But still, one out of every four men, and one out of 20 women, smokes every day.

Chandler said that makes tobacco far more deadly than drug overdoses, which killed an estimated 1,200 people in 2015, or auto crashes, which kill about 800 people a year.

Replacing the existing images, the Health Ministry has released a new set of pictorial warnings for mandatory display on packets of cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco with effect from April 1 this year.

However, population growth meant there was an increase in the overall number of smokers, up from 870 million in 1990. Despite progress in some settings, the war against tobacco is far from won, especially in countries with the highest numbers of smokers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) projects that the number of men and women smoking in sub-Saharan Africa will go up 50 per cent by 2025, compared to 2010 levels. "Along with national and local governments and other partner organizations in high-burden countries, we are making positive change happen in some of the toughest tobacco industry strongholds".

Researchers said government efforts to curb tobacco consumption had been effective, as smoking prevalence decreased by over a third between 1990 and 2015.

The Ministry of Health is to receive technical support from the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Secretariat to accelerate plans to enforce tobacco control regulations.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle assessed the prevalence of daily smoking in 195 countries. Although there have been some success stories, for many countries and territories, faster annualised rates of decline in smoking prevalence occurred between 1990 and 2005 than between 2005 and 2015. The first involves raising taxes on combustible tobacco products, while keeping taxes low on products such as nicotine replacement medications and e-cigarettes. Worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, smoking prevalence decreased by nearly a third (29.4%) to 15.3% in 2015. We need your support to keep our talented reporters, editors and photographers holding government accountable, looking out for the public interest, and separating fact from fiction. Only four countries had significant annualized increases in smoking prevalence between 2005 and 2015: Congo and Azerbaijan for men and Kuwait and Timor-Leste for women.

The study was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.