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New Study Calculates Lives Saved by Strong Tobacco Control Policies, Further evidence that tobacco control policies reduce smoking and save lives

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
July 01, 2013

According to a new study published today in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, tobacco control policies implemented in 41 countries between 2007 and 2010 will prevent 7.4 million premature deaths by 2050. The study provides strong evidence that if governments around the world act now to implement proven methods to reduce tobacco use, millions of lives can be saved.

The study is one of the first to measure the impact of tobacco control policies that have been implemented following the adoption of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) on saving lives. The WHO FCTC requires parties to introduce proven measures to reduce tobacco use. A set of these measures – known as the MPOWER package - require nations to enact comprehensive smoke-free laws; help tobacco users to quit; ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships; implement graphic health warnings on tobacco products; and raise the price of tobacco products by significantly increasing tobacco taxes.

The 41 countries that adopted these policies between 2007 and 2010 represent a total population of nearly one billion people – including nearly 290 million smokers. The study found that the number of smokers will decrease by 14.8 million in these countries as a result of the policies implemented. Additionally, of the 7.4 million deaths that will be averted due to these policies, nearly half (3.5 million) could be attributed to increasing tobacco taxes - one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use.

Since 2010, tremendous global progress has been made as countries continue to implement these life-saving tobacco control policies. In 2011, Brazil became the world’s largest smoke-free country. Bangladesh and Russia have also made significant strides in reducing tobacco use – both countries passed comprehensive tobacco control laws in 2012. Tobacco control policies in Brazil, Bangladesh and Russia alone now protect nearly half a billion people. This study shows that if countries around the world continue to adopt these proven policies, even more lives around the globe will be saved.

Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death – each year nearly six million people around the globe die from tobacco related disease, a figure that will only rise without urgent action. Unless countries around the world continue to act and implement proven methods to reduce tobacco use, this century one billion people will die from tobacco-related disease.

Follow this link to get more information on the study or to read the full study in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

Learn more about the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.