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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published the 7th WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic. This year, the report focused on the progress that countries have made to help tobacco users quit.

Tobacco remains the deadliest preventable source of disease

Mortality statistics show that tobacco is still the deadliest preventable source of disease. The WHO has recognised 69 carcinogens within the more than 7,000 toxic chemicals that can be found in tobacco smoke. Every year more than seven million people die due to first- or second-hand tobacco smoke.

In Europe, diseases related to tobacco consumption are also the most prevalent cause of death. Around 16 % of all deaths in adults over 30 years old are due to tobacco consumption and related diseases such as asthma, COPD, tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease or cancer.

“Quitting tobacco is one of the best things any person can do for their own health”, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He further requested governments to implement cessation services as part of their efforts to ensure universal health coverage (UHC) for their citizens.

EFA report shows: Only half of COPD patients are on smoking cessation

That a need for increased cessation services exists shows also our new “Active Patients ACCESS Care” report: only half of COPD patients who participated in our survey declared to be on smoking cessation. We therefore call for better policy support for having access to cessation therapies and programmes as part COPD management and prevention.

Further, we are asking EU policy-makers to #ShowLeadership for better policies on smoke free places, preventing people from being exposed to tobacco smoke.

WHO finds progress is being made but increased action needed

The WHO report analysed national efforts to implement the most effective measure form the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that are proved to reduce demand for tobacco, including MPOWER interventions that encourage governments to:

  • monitor tobacco use and prevention policies,
  • protect people from tobacco smoke,
  • offer help to quit tobacco smoke,
  • warn people about the dangers of tobacco,
  • enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship,
  • raise taxes on tobacco.

Many governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco and have introduced measures such as smoking bans or graphic warnings on packaging. However, only 23 countries are providing cessation services at the best-practice level, the WHO report shows.

The full WHO report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic can be found here.