The progress in global fight against tobacco

A new report released in Panama City by The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday shows that one-third of the world’s population – 2.3 billion people – are now covered by at least one life-saving policy measure to curb tobacco use.This is more than twice the global population covered by a key tobacco control measure when WHO released their initial WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic report five years ago in 2008, says a press release issued by International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) based in Paris, France on Wednesday.
The WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013 also highlighted the long path ahead, with two- thirds of the world’s population not provided any form of protection from the tobacco epidemic. Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke remain serious threats to global health, killing nearly 6 million people every year.
The report cites Turkey as the only country in the world which has implemented all MPOWER measures comprehensively. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) contributed to Turkey’s achievement by supporting the Turkish Ministry of Health to enact their smoke free legislation between 2008 and 2010 and by strengthening civil society capacity for monitoring of tobacco control policy implementation.
The measures monitored by WHO and reported on in the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013 are known as MPOWER measures – with each letter standing for a specific demand-reduction policy that governments can implement in order to protect their citizens from the tobacco epidemic: 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, and Raise taxes on tobacco.
177 countries have obliged themselves to implement these and other measures by signing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s first public health treaty. The Union works with governments and civil society around the world in order to support their efforts to develop and pass legislation that corresponds with these MPOWER measures.
The new report shows that smoke free environments (Protect) are the most commonly established tobacco control measure, with 32 countries having passed comprehensive smoking bans in workplaces, public places and public transport between 2007 and 2012. The Union has supported this achievement across 15 of these countries and is also working in countries that have not yet achieved comprehensive national smoke free legislations, such as China, Indonesia and India.
‘It is impressive to see the accelerated progress that has been possible because of the Bloomberg Initiative,’ said José Luis Castro, Interim Executive Director of The Union.  ‘Continued vigilance to ensure that each of the MPOWER measures is introduced in every country will be essential to truly stem the global tobacco epidemic.’
– Staff Reporter

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