Compared to 2007, more than four times as many people – some 5.3 billion – are now covered by at least one WHO-recommended tobacco control measure.
these six MPOWER measures are:
- Tobacco monitoring and preventive measures
- Protecting people from tobacco smoke; offer help to quit
- Warning about the dangers of tobacco
- Enforce advertising ban
- Promotion and sponsorship
- Raising taxes on tobacco
More than half of all countries and half of the world’s population are now covered by at least two MPOWER measures – an increase of 14 countries – and nearly a billion more people since the last report in 2019.
While half of the world’s population is exposed to tobacco products with clear health warnings, not even all of the MPOWER measures have progressed.
Increasing tobacco taxes has only had a slow effect and 49 countries have not yet taken MPOWER measures.
New Nicotine Threats
In particular, new data shows that children who use electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as ‘e-cigarettes’, are up to three times more likely to use tobacco products in the future.
The WHO is concerned that these products are often marketed to children and adolescents by the tobacco and related industries that produce them, with thousands of appealing flavors and misleading claims about the products.
The organization recommends governments do more to implement regulations to prevent non-smokers from becoming addicted in the first place, to prevent the renormalization of smoking in the community, and to protect future generations.
“Nicotine is highly addictive. Electronic nicotine delivery systems are harmful and need to be better regulated,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General.
“Where they are not banned, governments should adopt appropriate policies to protect their populations from the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems and to prevent the inclusion of children, adolescents and other vulnerable groups.”
Currently, 32 countries have banned the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
Another 79 have passed at least one partial measure to ban the use of these products in public places, prohibit their advertising, promotion and sponsorship, or require health warnings on packaging.
This still leaves 84 countries where they are not regulated or restricted in any way.
“More than a billion people around the world still smoke. And while cigarette sales have fallen, tobacco companies have aggressively launched new products — such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products — and lobbied governments to limit their regulation.
Their goal is simple: to hook a new generation of nicotine. We can’t let that happen,” said former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Currently, about 80% of the estimated one billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Tobacco is responsible for the deaths of eight million people each year, including one million from secondhand smoke.
dr. Rüdiger Krech, director of the WHO’s Department of Health Promotion, highlighted the challenges associated with their regulation. “These products are extremely diverse and evolve quickly.
“Some can be adjusted by the user so that nicotine concentration and risk levels are difficult to regulate. Others are marketed as “nicotine-free,” but are often found to contain the addictive ingredient in testing.
“It can be almost impossible to distinguish nicotine-containing products from non-nicotine, or even some tobacco-containing products. This is just one way the industry is undermining and undermining tobacco control measures.”
The report states that while delivery systems, or ENDS, must be regulated to maximize public health protection, tobacco control must remain focused on reducing tobacco use worldwide.