WHO launches 2017 report on the global tobacco epidemic

20 July 2017

On 19 July in New York City, the WHO launched the “WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic.” According to this report, 4.7 billion people are protected by at least one tobacco control measure – 3.6 billion more than in 2007.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General; Ministers Dr Jorge Baso, Minister of Public Health, Uruguay; and Mr Michael R. Bloombreg, WHO Global Ambassador for NCDs and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, launched the report, which monitors the status of the tobacco epidemic, as well as tobacco control interventions, with particular emphasis on country ownership and the capacity of Member States to continue to uphold the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). 

Outcomes of the new report, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, showcased the growing number of countries that have implemented tobacco control policies, including graphic pack warnings, advertising bans and no smoking areas. In 10 years, the global population covered by at least one comprehensive tobacco control measure has quadrupled, from 15% of the world’s population in 2007 to 63% of the world’s population today. Millions of lives have been saved from early death and, today, one third of countries have comprehensive systems to monitor tobacco use.


However, there remains more ground to cover. "Governments around the world must waste no time in incorporating all the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control into their national tobacco control programmes and policies," says Dr Ghebreyesus. "They must also clamp down on the illicit tobacco trade, which is exacerbating the global tobacco epidemic and its related health and socioeconomic consequences.”

In support of continued tobacco control coverage are the ‘MPOWER’ measures, which were established in 2008 to prop up government tobacco control action in line with the FCTC. These measures are 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.

Eight countries, including five low- and middle-income countries, have since implemented four or more MPOWER measures at the highest levels. These countries are Brazil, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ireland, Madagascar, Malta, Panama, Turkey and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“One in 10 deaths around the world is caused by tobacco, but we can change that through MPOWER tobacco control measures, which have proven highly effective,” said Bloomberg. “The progress that’s been made worldwide – and documented throughout this report – shows that it is possible for countries to turn the tide.”

More information is available in the full WHO press release.

Related article: Taxation: Most effective but still the least-used tobacco control measure, World Bank

Last update: 
Thursday 20 July 2017