Tobacco control is a major public health success story

The worldwide tobacco control success is manifested by the recent studies published in the Lancet Public Health, showing global smoking rates have decreased, especially after the adoption of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC). This first treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO obligates the 180 countries committed themselves to implementing strong evidence-based policies, including five key measures: high tobacco taxes, smoke-free public spaces, warning labels, comprehensive advertising bans, and support for stop smoking services.

The study analysed the smoking prevalence and attributable disease burden in 195 countries between 1990 and 2015. Even if the progress has overall been so strong that the global smoking prevalence has drastically dropped, representing 28.4% reductions for men and 34.4% for women respectively, since 1990, but yet greater progress was called for by the treaty. Smoking is still one of the five leading risk factors globally increasing the disease burden, and the control measures appear to be unevenly enforced across different regions. According to the study, in 2015, smoking attributed to 11.5% of global deaths worldwide in 2015. Over half of it (52.2%) of it took place in only four countries (China, India, the USA and Russia). Also, more countries were observed making progress from 1990 to 2005, than in between 2005 and 2015. The authors emphasize that despite progress shown in some settings, more efforts are needed to renew and implement tobacco control evenly across the regions and countries.

The importance to continue to invest to tobacco demand reduction is also emphasized by another study showing a global increase in implementation of all key demand-reduction measures, and concluding that they are significantly associated with lower smoking prevalence, with anticipated future reductions in tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. Strong implementation of the tobacco control measures is thus called for to bring another progress for another decade in future. For more information, please see the full text of the both studies; study for smoking prevalence and disease burden and study for association between tobacco control and smoking prevalence