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New Study Predicts Potential Global Impact of Tobacco Control Policies

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

World Lung Foundation welcomed a new study published in Tobacco Control journal that predicted countries could reduce the global adult smoking rate by 44 percent by 2030. The study, entitled “The potential impact of smoking control policies on future global smoking trends,” asserts this impact could be realized if governments fully implemented the World Health Organization’s MPOWER package of policies to reduce tobacco use.

The six components of MPOWER are:
• Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
• Protect people from tobacco smoke
• Offer help to quit tobacco use
• Warn about the dangers of tobacco
• Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
• Raise taxes on tobacco

Evidence from around the world shows that these policies, especially tobacco taxation, warning about tobacco use through mass media campaigns and graphic pack warnings, and creating 100% smoke-free public places, can reduce consumption of deadly tobacco products. Implementing such policies is also economically prudent because they reduce the cost of health expenditure on tobacco-related illnesses, increase economic activity and boost tax receipts that can fund other health initiatives.

WLF Chief Executive Officer Peter Baldini says, “This research confirms that governments have an unprecedented opportunity to save tens of millions of lives by reducing tobacco use. Moreover, the World Health Organization’s MPOWER package of policies is based on commitments most countries already made when they ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The research is not just good news, however. It also suggests that the total number of smokers will increase to 872 million worldwide by 2030 if we do nothing. This opportunity can be squandered if governments don’t act now.”

MPOWER strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner. WLF has supported more than 80 mass media campaigns in 20 countries to warn people about the harms of tobacco and to boost support for tobacco control policies.