The World Health Organisation (WHO) report has highlighted progress made in combating global tobacco epidemic but holds that such development is being threatened by tobacco companies’ continuous marketing of cigarettes to young people.
The report, released recently, highlights the strides made by countries in tackling the global tobacco epidemic and the various ways tobacco companies are using to market cigarettes.
In a statement issued in Washington D.C. by the President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Mathew L. Myers, the WHO biannual report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 focuses on tobacco cessation.
It discusses the sophisticated threats to public health caused by the introduction and marketing of e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes in countries around the world.
Tobacco companies have launched global campaigns for products that appeal to kids and make unproven claims that they help smokers quit.
The report highlights evidence that is at odds with tobacco industries’ claims about their products.
“Despite tobacco companies’ claims that e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes can help smokers quit regular cigarettes, the report finds that there is no evidence that smokers switch completely from cigarettes to heated cigarettes (also called heated tobacco products, or HTPs) and that the evidence supporting e-cigarettes for smoking cessation is limited.
“For these reasons, the WHO makes it clear that it does not endorse these products for smoking cessation. Tobacco companies are using the introduction of these products in public relations campaigns to portray themselves as part of the solution to the global tobacco epidemic when, in fact, their main business is still to sell cigarettes. They aggressively market cigarettes around the world, often in ways that appeal to kids, and fight effective tobacco control policies in country after country,” Myers maintains.
The report recommends that each country needs to address how best to deal with e-cigarettes, but at a minimum e-cigarette should be subject to policies that have proven effective in reducing tobacco use, including plain packaging and bans on flavourings, many of which are particularly attractive to youths.
“These warnings and recommendations are particularly timely as e-cigarettes like Juul are increasingly introduced in countries around the world and have caused an epidemic of youth use in the United States.
“Despite these challenges, countries will continue to make progress if they see through the tobacco industry lies and fully implement the evidence-based policies mandated by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).”
Brazil that hosted the launch of the report is one of the few countries that have implemented all of the WHO’s FCTC recommended policies including large graphic warning labels, increased tobacco taxes, a 100 per cent smoke-free law, a national quitline and government-provided cessation treatment services.
“To continue the life-saving progress documented in the WHO report, it is imperative that countries learn from Brazil and fully implement proven tobacco control solutions. Without urgent action, tobacco use will kill one billion people this century,” Myers said.