Date: Tuesday 01, 2008
Organisation: World Health Organization
Keywords: global tobacco economics Framework Convention Tobacco Control smokefree taxation advertising monitoring cessation industry policy
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008: The MPOWER package
Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death in the world today. This year, tobacco will kill more than five million people – more than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs and malaria combined. By 2030, the death toll will exceed eight million a year. unless urgent action is taken tobacco could kill one billion people during this century.
Tobacco is the only legal consumer product that can harm everyone exposed to it – and it kills up to half of those who use it as intended. Yet, tobacco use is common throughout the world due to low prices, aggressive and widespread marketing, lack of awareness about its dangers, and inconsistent public policies against its use.
Most of tobacco’s damage to health does not become evident until years or even decades after the onset of use. so, while tobacco use is rising globally, the epidemic of tobacco-related disease and death has just begun.
But we can change the future. The tobacco epidemic is devastating – but preventable. The fight against tobacco must be engaged forcefully and quickly – with no less urgency than battles against life-threatening infectious diseases. We can halt the tobacco epidemic and move towards a tobacco-free world – but we must act now.
The WHO framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a multilateral treaty with more than 150 Parties, was the first step in the global fight against the tobacco epidemic (see Appendix vI for status of the WHO framework Convention). This treaty presents a blueprint for countries to reduce both the supply of and the demand for tobacco. The WHO framework Convention establishes that international law has a vital role in preventing disease and promoting health.
Parties to the WHO framework Convention have committed to protect the health of their populace by joining the fight against the tobacco epidemic. To help countries fulfil the promise of the WHO framework Convention, WHO has established MPOWER, a package of the six most important and effective tobacco control policies: raising taxes and prices, banning advertising, promotion and sponsorship, protecting people from second- hand smoke, warning everyone about the dangers of tobacco, offering help to people who want to quit, and carefully monitoring the epidemic and prevention policies. These policies are proven to reduce tobacco use.