With 1.1 billion smokers in the world and several hundred million more who use other tobacco products, tobacco use remains a global epidemic. Progress is threatened by growing smoking rates among children aged 13 to 15 years in many countries and by tobacco industry tactics such as targeting poorer countries with weak regulatory environments and pushing novel products in previously untapped markets.
The Seventh Edition of the Tobacco Atlas, released by Vital Strategies and the Tobacconomics team at the University of Illinois at Chicago, serves as a warning call to all those who care about global health and economic development. It shows that tobacco control works: Global smoking rates dropped from 22.6% in 2007 to 19.6% in 2019. But uneven implementation of proven tobacco control measures means that richer countries reap the benefits, while the industry continues to prey on emerging economies to hook new generations on their deadly products.