NewsStronger control efforts helps to lower tobacco use in African region

Stronger control efforts helps to lower tobacco use in African region

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Brazzaville- May 31 2024- Tobacco use among adolescents in the African region declined by nearly 18% between 2020 and 2022, and by 46% among adults during the same period as countries adopted stronger measures to control the use of tobacco.

The African region is on track to achieve 30% relative reduction in tobacco use prevalence by 2025 compared with 2010, according to the Fifth Edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Use 2000–2030 report released in January 2024. In addition, 22 of the 56 countries worldwide on course to meet the target are in Africa. In 2014, the World Health Assembly adopted a global target of 30% relative reduction in tobacco use.

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Supported by WHO and partners, countries in the African region have introduced robust tobacco laws and regulations. These include stringent controls on marketing strategies for new and emerging tobacco and nicotine products, many of which are designed to attract young people. This year, World No Tobacco Day is being commemorated under the theme “Protecting children from tobacco industry interference”. The theme aimed to mobilize international efforts to shield youth from harmful tobacco and nicotine products and the deceptive strategies applied by the tobacco industry to market their products to them.

“Countries in the African region are making commendable progress in building safeguards against tobacco use and shielding populations from its harmful impacts. We now need to capitalize on the growing momentum to ensure a healthier future for the younger generation,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Also Read: Smoking: A Historical Habit with Devastating Modern Consequences

In the African region, 96% of countries have now ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, with Mauritius becoming the first African country to fully implement the entire WHO MPOWER package of tobacco control measures to curb demand. The country is also the first in the region to implement plain packages for cigarette packs.

In addition, 37 African countries now have bans on public smoking in force, with 14 of these instituting 100% smoke-free laws in all public places. A further 16 countries have introduced graphic health warnings on tobacco products, a cost-effective and powerful way to boost public awareness of associated health risks. In Mauritania, this contributed to a reduction in tobacco use among people aged from 16 to 64 years, from 18% to 10% between 2012 and 2021.

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