Progress on tobacco fight, but new nicotine products pose increasing threat

The United Nations

While many countries are making progress in the fight against tobacco use, a new World Health Organization (WHO) report shows some are failing to address the problem of emerging nicotine and tobacco products.

Compared with 2007, more than four times as many people — some 5.3 billion — are now covered by at least one WHO-recommended tobacco control measure.

These six MPOWER measures are:

  1. Monitoring tobacco use and preventive measures
  2. Protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit
  3. Warning about the dangers of tobacco
  4. Enforcing bans on advertising
  5. Promotion and sponsorship
  6. Raising taxes on tobacco

More than half of all countries and half the world’s population are now covered by at least two MPOWER measures – an increase of 14 countries – and almost one billion more people since the last report in 2019.

Whilst half of the world’s population are exposed to tobacco products with graphic health warnings, progress has not been even across all MPOWER measures.

Raising tobacco taxes has been slow to have an impact and 49 countries remain without any MPOWER measures adopted.

New nicotine threats

Of particular concern, new data shows that children who use electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as ‘e-cigarettes’ are up to three times more likely to use tobacco products in the future.

WHO is concerned that these products are often being marketed to children and adolescents by the tobacco and related industries that manufacture them, using thousands of appealing flavours and misleading claims about the products.

The Organization recommends governments do more to implement regulations to stop non-smokers from getting addicted in the first place, to prevent renormalisation of smoking in the community, and protect future generations.

Highly addictive

“Nicotine is highly addictive. Electronic nicotine delivery systems are harmful, and must be better regulated,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Where they are not banned, governments should adopt appropriate policies to protect their populations from the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, and to prevent their uptake by children, adolescents and other vulnerable groups.”

/UN News Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.