Though the population worldwide protected by tobacco control measures has grown almost five-fold than ten years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday called on countries to do more to prioritise these life-saving policies.In a latest report on the global tobacco epidemic published on Wednesday, the WHO said about 4.7 billion people, or 63 per cent of the world’s population, are covered today by at least one comprehensive tobacco control measure. Ten years ago, in 2007, the number was only one billion, or 15 per cent of the world’s population.
However, tobacco use has still become the leading single preventable cause of death worldwide, killing over seven million people each year. Its economic costs are also enormous, totaling more than 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars in healthcare and lost productivity, according to the WHO.
Meantime, the tobacco industry continues to hamper government efforts to fully implement life- and cost-saving interventions, by, for example, exaggerating the economic importance of the tobacco industry, discrediting proven science, and using litigation to intimidate governments, the report says.