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Tobacco control policies to prevent deaths of 7.4mn people by 2050

Last Updated: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 11:55

Washington: About 7.4 million people will be saved from premature death by 2050 due to the tobacco control measures, which have been put in place in 41 countries between 2007 and 2010, a new study has revealed.

The study demonstrates the success of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in reducing tobacco use and, thus, saving lives.

Lead author David Levy, PhD, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, said that it is a spectacular finding that by implementing these simple tobacco control policies, governments can save so many lives.

Known as "MPOWER," the measures correspond to one or more of the demand reduction provisions included in the WHO FCTC: Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies, Protecting people from tobacco smoke, Offering help to quit tobacco use, Warning people about the dangers of tobacco, Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, Promotion and sponsorship, and Raising taxes on tobacco.

The authors did a modeling exercise and projected the number of premature deaths that would be averted by 2050 through the implementation of one or more of these measures.

Levy said that in addition to some 7.4 million lives saved, the tobacco control policies that they examined could lead to other health benefits like lesser adverse birth outcomes related to maternal smoking, including low birth weight, and reduced health-care costs and less loss of productivity due to less smoking-related disease.

If these high-impact tobacco control measures were implemented even more widely, millions more smoking-related deaths would be averted, Douglas Bettcher, MD, director of the department of non-communicable diseases at WHO, said.

Bettcher said that the tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the world, with six million smoking-attributable deaths per year today, and these deaths are projected to rise to eight million a year by 2030, if current trends continue.
The study has been published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.


First Published: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 10:17

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