Jun 18, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Tobacco Epidemic Continues As WHO Strengthens Anti-Smoking Measures

Mar 23, 2017 02:20 AM EDT

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Demand reduction measures against tobacco had some success but not all plans were laid out to fully adopt the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Health experts observed a minimal reduction in tobacco smoking. A meager 2.5 percent decrease was recorded since WHO-FCTC's approval in 2005.

There are 180 countries who committed to combating tobacco smoking and have agreed to implement reduction measures. These include higher tobacco tax, the smoking ban in public places, warning labels on cigarette products, among others. However, WHO-FCTC is not getting any milestone achievements from signatory nations, EurekAlert reported.

According to the University of Waterloo in Canada, the war against tobacco epidemic remains insubstantial. While some countries from Europe and North America have inched to implement the demand-reduction called for, WHO-FCTC noted that some African countries not only failed but in fact had registered higher tobacco smoking rates. Middle African countries are worse with 12.6 percent increase in tobacco smoking rate.

Meanwhile, research author Dr. Geoffrey Fong said that among those commonly-implemented WHO-FCTC measures are the smoking ban in public places. There are 35 among 126 countries who declared their public places as smoke-free areas. This quantifies for 28 percent participation among anti-tobacco states.

In general, WHO-FCTC resulted to reduction of tobacco smoking from 24.7 to 22.2 percent since 2005. This will translate to about 90 countries with at least 2.5 percent tobacco smoking reduction although at a painstaking rate. 12 other countries retained their old tobacco rates. However, there are disturbing figures from 24 countries which recorded an increase of tobacco smokers.

There are also countries who focused on other stop-tobacco measures like the inclusion of health warnings on cigarette packages. 28 out of 126 countries implemented higher taxes on tobacco products. Among those who opt for higher taxation, WHO-FCTC observed its efficiency in tobacco reduction. Experts agree that this is the most effective among reduction measures, especially in low to middle-income countries where smokers can't afford to shell out extra money for expensive tobacco products.

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