Tobacco use falling worldwide but Big Tobacco fighting to reserve trend, WHO says

Tobacco use falling worldwide but Big Tobacco fighting to reserve trend, WHO says

The number of adult tobacco users has dropped steadily in recent years, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, but it warned Big Tobacco is working hard to reverse that trend.

In 2022, about one-in-five adults around the world were smokers or consumed other tobacco products, compared to one-in-every-three in 2000, the United Nations health agency said.

A fresh report looking at trends in the prevalence of tobacco use between 2000 and 2030 showed that 150 countries were successfully reducing it, the WHO said.

tobacco use among adolescents, especially for newer so-called smokeless products.

The report said that on average, around 10 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds globally use one or more types of tobacco.

That amounts to at least 37 million adolescents, including at least 12 million who use new smokeless tobacco products.

But the report stressed these numbers were an underestimate since more than 70 countries provide no data.

This was worrying because “countries need these data to counter tobacco and associated industries’ claims that adolescents are not being targeted as new clients,” it said.

The available data suggests the industry attempts to undermine countries’ efforts to dissuade young people from using tobacco products.

“Young people are still reporting regular use of the products, easy access to purchasing them and low concerns about becoming addicted,” the report said.

“Gathering data from adolescents on their knowledge, attitudes and practices is the most powerful way to combat the industry and shape effective policies that prevent initiation of tobacco use.”