Ban on tobacco advertising and promotion making significant progressListen /
At least 24 countries worldwide have introduced complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Creation of smoke-free public and work places is the most commonly established tobacco control measure with 32 countries having passed complete smoking bans covering all work places, public places and public transport over the past five years.
In its annual report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, WHO says over 3 billion people are now covered by national anti-tobacco campaigns which means hundreds of millions of nonsmokers are less likely to start tobacco use.
However, 67 countries still permit wide-ranging tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities.
WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan says the number of deaths attributed to tobacco smoking is projected to rise to 8 million a year by 2030, adding that every country has the responsibility to protect its population from tobacco related illness, disability and death.
Dr Douglas Bettcher, is the Director of WHO's Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases department.
"Increased markets mean increased deaths, and the tobacco industry is a death machine, and they are pushing themselves into more and more developing country markets looking for opportunities where tobacco use may be not at the highest rate in certain populations. It is important that countries ban all forms of advertising promotion and sponsorship. You can have point of sale advertising, you can't allow the industry to slap on their logos onto tee shirts, boots etc. you can't allow the industry to give free samples of tobacco products out at discos etc. You have to ban all of this because this is the only way to push the mute button on the tobacco industry."
According to WHO, tobacco is the leading global cause of preventable death and kills 6 million people every year.
Tobacco use can cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.