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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs