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“There is a turning point in the global tobacco epidemic, but e-cigarettes are a looming threat to global progress.”

Statement from José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer, Vital Strategies, on the first projected global decline in adult male tobacco use, reported in the “World Health Organization global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000-2025,” third edition :

“We celebrate this turning point in the tobacco epidemic, as evidenced by WHO’s report identifying the first-ever projected decline in the number of male tobacco users. Strong government policies are driving millions to quit and protecting millions of kids from starting, but there is uneven progress. The data show that low- and middle-income countries targeted by the tobacco industry are especially at risk.

The tobacco industry would prefer governments look away from proven policies and instead risk their public health on the unproven benefits of e-cigarettes. With its explosive youth epidemic in vaping, the United States proves a cautionary tale to those who would leave e-cigarettes unregulated or underregulated. Governments should aggressively pursue the proven MPOWER  policies and emerging innovations such as plain packaging to curb smoking, and highly regulate new products in a way that reduces combustible cigarette use, harmful dual use, and youth uptake of any nicotine product.”


According to the “WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000-2025,” third edition, overall global tobacco use has fallen by approximately 60 million people since 2000, from 1.397 billion to 1.337 billion in 2018. Female tobacco use fell by around 100 million during this period. While male tobacco use grew through 2018, that growth has stopped and the number of male tobacco users is projected to decline by 1 million in 2020, with 5 million fewer by 2025, to 1.087 billion. Globally, at least 43.8 million adolescents aged 13-15 use some form of tobacco; 34% of tobacco users in this age group live in Southeast Asia. Only 32 countries are currently on track to reach the target agreed by governments of reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025.

About Vital Strategies’ work in tobacco control:

Vital Strategies works globally and in more than 40 countries to support the adoption of proven policies to reduce tobacco use. Our global team of experts use policy, advocacy and strategic communication to help governments adopt lifesaving, public health “best buys” like comprehensive smoke-free laws and high tobacco taxes. Our evidence-based public education campaigns have been seen by more than 2 billion people around the world. We partner with American Cancer Society to produce The Tobacco Atlas, (sixth ed.) the most comprehensive report on the evolving global tobacco epidemic, and support production of WHO’s MPOWER reports. Vital Strategies is a main partner in the $1 billion Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use and a partner in the global tobacco industry watchdog, Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP).

For more information Vital Strategies’ work in tobacco control, please visit: