News / Health

WHO: Tobacco Control Measures Avert Millions of Deaths

An aerial shot shows tens of thousands of Filipinos form a human no-smoking sign at the Bicol University football field in Legazpi city, Albay province, south of Manila, June 28, 2013.
An aerial shot shows tens of thousands of Filipinos form a human no-smoking sign at the Bicol University football field in Legazpi city, Albay province, south of Manila, June 28, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The World Health Organization reports tobacco control measures can avert millions of deaths. A new WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013 shows hundreds of millions of non-smokers are less likely to start smoking because of national anti-tobacco campaigns that are reaching three billion people worldwide.

WHO estimates some three billion people globally now are covered by at least one life-saving measure to limit tobacco use. In 2008, WHO identified six tobacco control measures that are the most effective in reducing tobacco-use.

In this year’s report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, WHO focuses on bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, which it considers one of the most powerful measures to control tobacco use. It says the number of people covered by these bans has increased by almost 400 million people living mainly in low-and middle-income countries.

The Director of WHO’s Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases department, Douglas Betcher, said this shows the tobacco industry’s bullying tactics are not working as well as before.

“Doors thank goodness are closing on the industry. So, it means that their bottom line is to sell," he said. "Their bottom line is to get more people hooked and younger people hooked, and they will kill more people.  That is their bottom line. The industry being underhanded…will stop at nothing to get their messages out. So, it’s important that countries ban all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship.”

Countries and territories with the highest level of achievement: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Ire
Countries and territories with the highest level of achievement: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Ire
As of today, WHO says 24 countries with 694 million people have introduced complete bans and 100 more countries are close to a complete ban. However, it notes 67 countries do not ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities.

WHO reports tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide  It says it kills six million people every year, more than tuberculosis, HIV and malaria combined. It says tobacco can cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.

The components of MPOWER

  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco

Source: WHO
If current trends continue, WHO warns the number of smoking-related deaths will rise to eight million a year by 2030. Betcher said studies show that WHO’s six-evidence-based tobacco control measures, known as “MPOWER,” are the most effective in reducing tobacco use. 

“The first one is protect people from tobacco smoke-what is measured is complete bans in smoking in all public places, work places, no designated smoking areas," he said. "Always offering help to quit tobacco use…offering free national quit lines to advise people on how to quit and to link that to the health system, to provide also medication support--essential drugs like nicotine-replacement therapy to help people to quit.  Warning people about the dangers of tobacco use. Prominent hard-hitting clear messages with pictorial warnings over 50 percent on packages.” 

Betcher said 41 countries have adopted at least one of the six MPOWER measures as of 2010. He said an estimated 7.4 million lives have been saved during these three years in those countries that have adopted and implemented one of those measures at the highest level.

Case studies show countries including Panama, China, Thailand, Madagascar, Australia, Uruguay, Ghana and Turkey are succeeding in cutting tobacco use.  WHO says it does not take money for countries to get their populations to quit this deadly habit.  It takes political will.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs