News / Health

WHO: Global Tobacco Usage Leveling Off

A couple walk through an anti-tobacco installation set up by the Uruguay's Resources National Fund, depicting cigarettes' harmful components, in Montevideo, Uruguay (File)
A couple walk through an anti-tobacco installation set up by the Uruguay's Resources National Fund, depicting cigarettes' harmful components, in Montevideo, Uruguay (File)
Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization says progress is being made in the fight against the widespread use of tobacco.  However, as it marks this year’s World No Tobacco Day May 31, WHO warns much work, remains to be done to reduce the millions of premature deaths that occur every year from tobacco-related illnesses.  

The Convention

The World Health Organization says there are indications the global use of tobacco is beginning to plateau and even decrease.  It attributes this success largely to the implementation of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The Convention, the first public health treaty ever adopted, entered into force in 2005.  So far, 173 countries have ratified it.

Watch a related report by Vidushi Sinha

The Head of the Convention Secretariat, Haik Nikogosian, says 80 percent of the parties either have adopted or strengthened legislation on tobacco control after joining the Convention. He calls this a very strong global achievement.

“I think we are winning the battle. Yes, this is a long battle.  It will take many, many years, but the tobacco epidemic, including in some countries where it was a big challenge, is starting to curb,” said Nikogosian.  “It will take a very long time. They are still taking millions of lives. But, the good news is that it seems that it is curbing.”  

Incremental successes since inception

WHO figures indicate a significant drop in the prevalence of smoking since enforcement of the Convention began six years ago.

For example, smoking in Australia, Norway and Mexico has dropped by five percent during this period.  An even more dramatic result is found in Uraguay, where smoking has declined from 46 percent to 31 percent over the past three years.  

Tobacco, one of the biggest contributors to non-communicable diseases


Nevertheless, Armando Peruga, WHO's Program Manager for Tobacco Free Initiative, says the public health effects of tobacco use are still devastating.

“This year, the tobacco epidemic will kill nearly six million people, including more than 600,000 non-smokers that will die from exposure to tobacco smoke,” said Peruga.  

By 2030, Dr. Peruga warns, tobacco could kill eight million people, of whom more than 80 percent will live in low and middle-income countries. “As you know, tobacco is one of the biggest contributors to the epidemic of non-communicable diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, emphysema, which accounts for about two-thirds of all deaths of NCD (non-communicable diseases) and about one in eight of the total deaths. That is about 13 percent,” he explained.  

WHO says the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics is becoming more aggressive as more people give up smoking. It says the industry is mainly targeting young people and women in poor countries.  

The Framework Convention contains a number of non-smoking measures countries are obliged to implement over time.  WHO officials say the most effective one is increasing tobacco taxes.  

Other measures include banning tobacco advertising and sales to minors, placing large health warnings on packages of tobacco and making public places smoke free.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More