Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

WHO Report On The Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008

In the 20th century, the tobacco epidemic killed 100 million people worldwide.

During the 21st century, it could kill one billion.

  • 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

The six policies of WHO’s MPOWER package can counter the tobacco epidemic and reduce its deadly toll.

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008 is the first in a series of WHO reports that will track the status of the tobacco epidemic and the impact of interventions implemented to stop it.

We must act now to reverse the global tobaco epidemic and save milions of lives

We hold in our hands the solution to the global tobacco epidemic that threatens the lives of one billion men, women and children during this century. In fact, tobacco use can kill in so many ways that it is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of death in the world. The cure for this devastating epidemic is dependent not on medicines or vaccines, but on the concerted actions of government and civil society.

This is a unique point in public health history as the forces of political will, policies and funding are aligned to create the momentum needed to dramatically reduce tobacco use and save millions of lives by the middle of this century. Reversing this entirely preventable epidemic must now rank as a top priority for public health and for political leaders in every country of the world.

The global consensus that we must fight the tobacco epidemic has already been established by the more than 150 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Now, the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008 gives countries a roadmap that builds on the WHO Framework Convention to turn this global consensus into a global reality through MPOWER, a package of six effective tobacco control policies.

But countries need not act alone. WHO, with help from its global partners, is scaling up its capacity and is committed to supporting Member States as they implement and enforce the MPOWER policies. The WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008 also enables WHO to present a unique and comparable set of country-specific data from around the world that will cast an intense spotlight on tobacco use, its impact on people and economies, and the progress countries are making to reverse the epidemic.

Prompt action is crucial. The tobacco epidemic already kills 5.4 million people a year from lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. Unchecked, that number will increase to more than 8 million a year by 2030. Tragically, with more than 80% of those deaths occurring in the developing world, the epidemic will strike hardest in countries whose rapidly growing economies offer their citizens the hope of a better life. To the tobacco companies, these economies represent vast new marketplaces. This will result not only in large increases in illness and death, but also in less productive workforces and escalating avoidable healthcare costs.

We cannot let this happen. I call on governments around the world to take urgent action to implement the policies outlined in the MPOWER package.

Dr Margaret Chan
World Health Organization

View the full report on The Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008 – 342 pages

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>