Although there are plans on making the world “tobacco-free” by 2040, a recent study says the plan to drastically reduce smoking worldwide will fail.
An international group of policy and health specialists led by Professors Robert Beaglehole and Ruth Bonita from the University of Auckland in New Zealand wrote a new series in The Lancet according to which, in less than three decades, the world could become “tobacco-free” (meaning less than 5 percent of the population will be smokers) with enough political support and more evidence-based projects that could discourage the tobacco industry.
But according to another study published alongside the Series, although there has been a decrease in smoking rates, tobacco usage might actually increase in some areas of the world in the next 10 years, especially in Africa and the Middle East. The research was conducted by a Japanese team led by Professor Kenji Shibuya from the University Of Tokyo, Japan.
Another factor that might contribute to the growing usage of tobacco is the rise in population. The study says that by 2025 there will be more than one billion smokers unless drastic measures will be implemented.
The fight against tobacco increased 210 years ago when the World Health Organization introduced the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Unfortunately, the plan was implemented only in some areas, with only 15% of the world’s population having access to programs that help people give up smoking.
The countries where the FCTC has been successfully applied are Australia, New Zealand, Finland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland and some Pacific Island countries where additional tobacco reduction programs have been later implemented.
And still, tobacco taxes are currently targeting only 10 percent of people worldwide despite the fact that increasing the cost of tobacco through taxation is one of the best scientifically proven methods of discouraging consumption.
But if one would look at the fact that 50 million deaths are due to tobacco, one would understand that FCTC alone will not make a visible change in the level of tobacco usage.
The study considers that operations need to be “turbo-charged”. Beside taxation, worldwide organizations need to target the four main tobacco producers and stop their different tactics used to increase profits. Some of those methods include changing the targeted consumers to those in low- and middle-income countries, litigations, lobbying with the help of third party groups and political pressure through various sponsorships.
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