UN sees progress in fight against tobacco, warns more action needed to help people quit deadly product

UNICEF/Brian Sokol A woman, her child behind her, pauses in the field to smoke a cigarette in Sawa Khola Village, Mugu District.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Progress is being made in the battle against the global tobacco epidemic, but more action is needed to help people quit the deadly products, according to a new report from the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

With five billion people today – four times more people than a decade ago – living in countries that have introduced smoking bans, graphic warnings on packaging and other effective tobacco control measures, many governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco.

But a new WHO report out on Friday shows many countries are still not adequately implementing policies, including helping people quit tobacco, that can save lives. It urges governments to implement cessation services as part of efforts to ensure universal health coverage for their citizens.

The seventh WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic analyses national efforts to implement the most effective measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that are proven to reduce demand for tobacco.

These measures, like the so-named ‘MPOWER’ interventions, have been shown to save lives and reduce costs from averted healthcare expenditure. The MPOWER report was launched in 2007 to promote government action on six tobacco control strategies in-line with the WHO FCTC to:

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

The focus of the latest report is on the progress countries have made to help tobacco users quit. It is being launched today in Brazil, a country that has become the second, after Turkey, to fully implement all the MPOWER measures at the highest level of achievement.

Tobacco cessation services must be stepped up

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said governments should implement cessation services as part of efforts to ensure universal health coverage for their citizens.

“Quitting tobacco is one of the best things any person can do for their own health,” said Dr Tedros. “The MPOWER package gives governments the practical tools to help people kick the habit, adding years to their life and life to their years.”

Progress is being made, with 2.4 billion people living in countries now providing comprehensive cessation services (2 billion more than in 2007). But only 23 countries are providing cessation services at the best-practice level, making it the most under-implemented MPOWER measure in terms of number of countries offering full coverage.

Tobacco cessation services include national toll-free quit lines, “mCessation” services to reach larger populations via mobile phones, counselling by primary health care providers and cost-covered nicotine replacement therapy.

Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, said the report shows government-led efforts to help people quit tobacco work when properly implemented.

“More countries are making tobacco control a priority and saving lives, but there’s still much more work to be done,” said Mr Bloomberg. “The WHO’s new report shines a spotlight on global efforts to help people quit using tobacco and it details some of our most important gains.”

The report, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, showed that while only 23 countries have implemented cessation support policies at the highest level, 116 more provide fully or partially cost-covered services in some or most health facilities, and another 32 offer services but do not cost-cover them, demonstrating a high level of public demand for support to quit.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How private investment can boost education access and quality in the digital economy

5 amazing people fighting to save the oceans

European Commission adopts new tools for safe exchanges of personal data

Banks must take bold action to fight climate change. This is how they can do it

A Sting Exclusive: Healthy oceans amidst COVID-19, written by the United Nations Under-Secretary General

Here’s how to close the $176 billion health financing gap

Vulnerable young people must not be blamed & stigmatised for violent radicalisation

Why business schools can’t “return to normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic

State aid: Commission approves €500 million Greek scheme to support the self-employed affected by coronavirus outbreak

Countries urged to make ‘digital world’ safer for children

The European Youth explains the age gap in European business in the 21st century

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

There is no recipe for a healthy mental state

MasterCard @ MWC14: Innovation in times of regulatory uncertainty

FROM THE FIELD: Gaza men advocate for an end to early marriage

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

The global suicide rate is growing – what can we do?

EP Group leaders on Brexit: “the agreement is not open to renegotiation”

China, forever new adventures

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

‘Antagonistic gestures and accusations’ drown out Kosovo dialogue hopes, Security Council hears

Teenage girl’s death sentence spotlights Sudan’s failure to tackle forced marriage, gender-based violence – UN rights office

Ambition, transformation, active citizenship: COP24 looks to next year’s big UN Climate Change Summit

COVID-19 shows why we must build trust in digital financial services

With lifelong learning, you too can join the digital workplace

Mergers: Commission fines Sigma-Aldrich €7.5 million for providing misleading information during Merck takeover investigation

Recognize, celebrate and ‘stand in solidarity’ with persons with albinism

Happy workers are more productive, research shows

Financing fossil fuels risks a repeat of the 2008 crash. Here’s why

The different ways of care: Is there a general rule to follow?

Safety fits into our palms: The role of mobile technology in healthcare systems and life saving

Closing the data gap: a cost-effective way to improve air quality

Fostering global citizenship in medical students through exchanges

Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

Praising Roma’s contributions in Europe, UN expert urges end to rising intolerance and hate speech

UN Convention that promotes mediation to resolve trade disputes moves closer to entry into force

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antimicrobials

UN’s AIDS agency ‘greatly encouraged’ by latest scientific breakthrough showing cure is possible

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

How multistakeholder platforms can strengthen our multilateral system

How the powerful science of behaviour change can make us healthier

Soil erosion must be stopped ‘to save our future’, says UN agriculture agency

The Internet of Bodies is here. This is how it could change our lives.

The US + Britain trivialize mainland Europe, NATO and the EU

Cyclone Fani hits India, UN moves to protect vulnerable refugees in Bangladesh

6 data policy issues experts are tracking right now

Blockchain is not a magic bullet for security. Can it be trusted?

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

At least half of people who have a job fear they’ll lose it in the next 12 months

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Forest fires: Commission adds planes to rescEU fleet to prepare for summer

Here’s how data can shine a light on financial crime

Security Council must ‘come together’ to address the plight of children trapped in armed conflict, says UN envoy

Commission presents review of EU economic governance and launches debate on its future

Why democratizing skills is the key to the post-pandemic economy

How smart farming is helping Brazil feed the world

Black babies more likely to survive when cared for by Black doctors, suggests new study

Belarus, climate action, COVID-19: MEPs assess EU summit results

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s