Number of smokers decreases, but efforts must continue, says WHO

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The number of smokers has steadily declined in recent years, but efforts to combat smoking must continue in the face of tobacco industry activism, warned the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2020, 1.3 billion people used tobacco in the world, 20 million less than two years ago, according to a new report from the institution.

The fall is expected to continue until 2025, when around 1.27 billion smokers are expected, that is, approximately 20% of the world’s population over 15 years of age.

In 2000, the proportion was almost a third.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus celebrated the decline but warned that “there is a long way to go and the tobacco industry will do whatever it takes to defend the huge profits it makes from the sale of its deadly product. “

According to WHO statistics, tobacco kills more than 8 million smokers each year and 1.2 million people die from passive smoking.

The death toll will continue to increase, despite the reduction in consumption, “because tobacco kills slowly”.

WHO celebrates the fact that 60 countries are on track to reach the target of voluntary 30% reduction in consumption between 2010 and 2025. It is almost double what two years ago.

“We are seeing great strides in many countries,” said Ruediger Krech, who heads the WHO’s health promotion department, saying that “this achievement is fragile.”

According to the report, with just $1.68 in per capita investment in tobacco cessation follow-up measures, 152 million smokers could quit smoking by 2030.

Although the numbers — which do not include e-cigarettes, which are widely accepted — are declining, the report points out that 36.7% of men and 7.8% of women worldwide continued to use tobacco last year.

Added to this are 38 million young people between 13 and 15 years old, that is, 10% of all adolescents in this age group.

In Europe, 18% of women continue to use tobacco, considerably more than in all other regions of the world, and “European women are reducing their use more slowly” than in the rest of the world.

The western Pacific region is expected to have the highest male consumption rate in 2025 (45%).

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