Smoking Will Kill One Billion This Century

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report that includes some ominous projections for smokers. According to the report the WHO projects that one billion people will die of smoking related diseases in the 21st century.

The WHO released these figures as part of a report and recommendations called “MPower.” (Click here for WHO summary and link to full downloadable report.) The report also contained other facts that include:

  • There were 100 million deaths from smoking related diseases in the 20th century
  • Currently there are 5.4 million deaths every year
  • By the year 2030, that toll will increase to more than 8 million deaths every year
  • By 2030, more than 80% of tobacco deaths will be in developing countries

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General states in the report, “Reversing this entirely preventable epidemic must now rank as a top priority for public health and for political leaders in every country of the world.” The MPower report lays out six strategies to combat this problem. Dr. Chan emphasized the importance of these strategies, “While efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more. These six strategies are within the reach of every country, rich or poor and, when combined as a package, they offer us the best chance of reversing this growing epidemic.

The six MPOWER strategies are:

  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the initiatives and the report. He commented, “The report released today is revolutionary,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “For the first time, we have both a rigorous approach to stop the tobacco epidemic and solid data to hold us all accountable. No country fully implements all of the MPOWER policies and 80% of countries don’t fully implement even one policy. While tobacco control measures are sometimes controversial, they save lives and governments need to step up and do the right thing.”