Progress on tobacco fight, but new nicotine products pose an increasing threat
While many countries are making progress in the fight against tobacco use, a new World Health Organization (WHO) report shows some are failing to address the problem of emerging nicotine and tobacco products.
Compared with 2007, more than four times as many people — some 5.3 billion — are now covered by at least one WHO-recommended tobacco control measure.
These six MPOWER measures are:
1- Monitoring tobacco use and preventive measures
2- Protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit
3- Warning about the dangers of tobacco
4- Enforcing bans on advertising
5- Promotion and sponsorship
6- Raising taxes on tobacco
More than half of all countries and half the world’s population are now covered by at least two MPOWER measures – an increase of 14 countries – and almost one billion more people since the last report in 2019.
Whilst half of the world’s population are exposed to tobacco products with graphic health warnings, progress has not been even across all MPOWER measures. SEE HERE: COVID-19 Causes Major Backsliding On Childhood Vaccinations- New WHO, UNICEF Report
Raising tobacco taxes has been slow to have an impact and 49 countries remain without any MPOWER measures adopted.
Of particular concern, new data shows that children who use electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as ‘e-cigarettes’ are up to three times more likely to use tobacco products in the future.
WHO is concerned that these products are often being marketed to children and adolescents by the tobacco and related industries that manufacture them, using thousands of appealing flavours and misleading claims about the products.
The Organization recommends governments do more to implement regulations to stop non-smokers from getting addicted in the first place, to prevent renormalisation of smoking in the community and protect future generations.
“Nicotine is highly addictive. Electronic nicotine delivery systems are harmful, and must be better regulated,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. READ ALSO; Hepatitis: More Than 124,000 Africans Die Yearly, 4.5 Million Children U5 Infected With Chronic Hepatitis B- WHO
“Where they are not banned, governments should adopt appropriate policies to protect their populations from the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, and to prevent their uptake by children, adolescents, and other vulnerable groups.”
Currently, 32 countries have banned the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
A further 79, have adopted at least one partial measure to prohibit the use of these products in public places, prohibit their advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, or require the display of health warnings on packaging.
This still leaves 84 countries where they are not regulated or restricted in any way.