Most people warned against tobacco use, but industry still resistant

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More people are being warned against tobacco use. Photo: WHO/ Regional Office for the Western Pacific

A majority of consumers around the world now receive warnings about the dangers of using tobacco products, but the industry continues to resist government efforts.

That's according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) report on the global tobacco epidemic, launched on Wednesday on the side-lines of the UN high level political forum on sustainable development, in New York.

Matt Wells has more.

The WHO report said that one third of countries now have comprehensive systems to monitor tobacco use; up from just a quarter in 2007.

It adds that "governments still need to do more to prioritize or finance this area of work".

In addition, around 4.7 billion people – more than 60 per cent of the global population – are now protected by at least one "best practice" tobacco control measure, such as public no-smoking areas and bans on tobacco advertising.

The WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in the report that if they work together, countries can "prevent millions of people from dying each year from preventable tobacco-related illness".

Billions of dollars could also be saved, he added, "in avoidable healthcare expenditures and productivity losses".

The report also notes that monitoring tobacco industry interference in policymaking protected public health, and shed light on dubious practices.

Such tactics include "exaggerating the economic importance" of the business, and "discrediting proven science and using litigation to intimidate governments".

Matt Wells, United Nations.

 Duration: 1'02"

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