Global tobacco use among males falls for first time on tougher policies: WHO

Source: WHO/ S. Volkov

ECONOMYNEXT- Tobacco use among men have fallen for the first time globally due to higher taxation, showing a powerful shift in trends, the World Health Organization said in a statement.

“Declines in tobacco use amongst males mark a turning point in the fight against tobacco,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“For many years now we had witnessed a steady rise in the number of males using deadly tobacco products,” he said.

“But now, for the first time, we are seeing a decline in male use, driven by governments being tougher on the tobacco industry.”

“WHO will continue working closely with countries to maintain this downward trend.”

WHO research has shown male tobacco user numbers plateauing after 2018 and projected to fall by 1 million users to 1.091 billion persons by 2020, and fall by 5 million by 2025.

During the past two decades, overall use of tobacco has fallen from 1.397 billion people in 2000 to 1.337 billion people in 2018, due to a decline in tobacco use among females, especially in low and middle-income countries.

WHO projects there will be 10 million fewer tobacco users by 2020 and 27 million less by 2025 among both male and female.

Around 60 countries around the world have been experiencing a decline in tobacco use since 2010.

“Reductions in global tobacco use demonstrate that when governments introduce and strengthen their comprehensive evidence-based actions, they can protect the well-being of their citizens and communities,” WHO Health Promotion Director Ruediger Krech, said.

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Despite such gains, progress in meeting the global target set by governments to cut tobacco use by 30 percent by 2025 remains off track, WHO said.

Based on current progress, a 23 percent reduction will be achieved by 2025. Only 32 countries are currently on track to reach the 30 percent reduction target.

Every year, more than 8 million people die from tobacco use.

More than 7 million of those deaths are from direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Most tobacco-related deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries, areas that are targets of intensive tobacco industry interference and marketing.

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