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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs