Tobacco use falling: WHO urges countries to invest in helping more people to quit tobacco

Nov. 16, 2021

The fourth and most recent World Health Organization (WHO) global tobacco trends report shows that there are 1.30 billion tobacco users globally compared to 1.32 billion in 2015. This number is expected to drop to 1.27 billion by 2025.

Sixty countries are now on track to achieving the voluntary global target of a 30% reduction in tobacco use between 2010 and 2025:  two years ago only 32 countries were on track, according to a WHO press release.

Millions of lives may have been saved by tobacco control policies under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and MPOWER.

The report also urges countries to accelerate implementation of the measures outlined in the WHO FCTC in an effort to further reduce the number of people at risk of becoming ill and dying from a tobacco-related disease.

A new WHO Global Investment Case for Tobacco Cessation, highlights that investing US$ 1.68 per capita each year in evidence-based cessation interventions such as brief advice, national toll-free quit lines, and SMS-based cessation support, could help 152 million tobacco users successfully quit by 2030, saving millions of lives and contributing to countries’ long-term economic growth.

To facilitate this process, WHO has established a tobacco cessation consortium, which will bring together partners to support countries in scaling up tobacco cessation.

Key findings of the WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000–2025: 

In 2020, 22.3% of the global population used tobacco, 36.7% of all men and 7.8% of the world’s women.

Currently, 60 countries are on track to achieve the tobacco use reduction target by 2025. Since the last report two years ago, two other regions – the African and South-East Asian regions - have now joined the Americas region on-track to achieve a 30% reduction.

Children: Approximately 38 million children (aged 13-15) currently use tobacco (13 million girls and 25 million boys).  In most countries it is illegal for minors to purchase tobacco products. The goal is to achieve zero child tobacco users.

Women: The number of women using tobacco in 2020 was 231 million. The age group with the highest prevalence rate among women for tobacco use is 55-64.

World Health International release