The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new data showing that while progress has been made, not a single country in the world has fully implemented all key tobacco control measures to prevent tens of millions of premature deaths.
In the report, which presents the first comprehensive analysis of global tobacco use and control efforts, WHO finds that only 5% of the world's population live in countries that fully protect their population with any one of the key measures that reduce smoking rates. The report also reveals that governments around the world collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco efforts. It finds that tobacco taxes, the single most effective strategy, could be significantly increased in nearly all countries, providing a source of sustainable funding to implement and enforce recommended policies.
Uganda signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in March 2004 and ratified it on June 20, 2007. Smoking has been banned at all healthcare facilities, educational institutions and all governmental facilities. Despite this, the report notes, Uganda has no ban on tobacco advertisements in local media. There are no national objectives on tobacco control and a national agency to monitor tobacco control doesn't exist.
Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, said at the launch of the Report of the Global Tobacco Epidemic that while efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more. She said the WHO has suggested six key strategies that can help international tobacco control return on track.
The six strategies are monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; protect people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit tobacco use; warning about the dangers of tobacco; enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and raising taxes on tobacco.
The report also documents the epidemic's shift to the developing world, where 80% of the more than eight million annual tobacco-related deaths projected by 2030 are expected to occur. This shift, the report says, results from a global tobacco industry strategy to target young people and adults in the developing world, ensuring that millions of people become fatally addicted every year.
The targeting of young women in particular is highlighted as one of the most ominous potential developments of the epidemic's growth.
Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death in the world today. WHO says that this year, tobacco will kill more than five million people, which is more than the total number of deaths from tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. By 2030, the death toll will exceed eight million a year.
WHO warns that unless urgent action is taken tobacco could kill one billion people during this century.
world health organization