A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) documents significant progress in fighting the global tobacco control epidemic. The report documents countries’ progress in implementing five cost-effective policies to reduce tobacco use. These measures – referred to as the MPOWER package – include banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship , enacting comprehensive smoke-free laws, implementing graphic health warnings on tobacco products, and raising tobacco product prices by increasing tobacco taxes.
The 2013 report has a special focus on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS). Effective TAPS bans cover all forms of direct and indirect advertising used by the tobacco industry to attract new users (especially youth) and to discourage current users from quitting.
- Since 2007, the global population covered by at least one effective tobacco control measure has more than doubled from 1 billion to 2.3 billion – a third of the world’s population.
- In the past two years, significant progress has been made in enacting complete TAPS bans; the population covered by bans on both direct and indirect tobacco advertising has more than doubled to nearly 700 million people. However, only 24 countries, covering just under10 percent of the world’s population, have complete TAPS bans.
- Between 2007 and 2012:
- 32 countries passed comprehensive smoke-free laws, protecting nearly 900 million additional people.
- 20 countries implemented strong graphic warning labels.
- Raising the price of tobacco through increased taxes is the least achieved MPOWER policy; few countries have raised their taxes to at least 75% of tobaccos’ retail price.
- The report notes that much of the policy progress over the last five years has been made in low- and middle-income countries.
- The success of many countries in applying strong tobacco control measures demonstrates that it is possible to tackle the tobacco epidemic regardless of country size or income.
- Efforts must be accelerated in countries to fully implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to save even more lives.
Full Citation: World Health Organization (WHO). WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2013: Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Geneva: WHO; 2013.
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.