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Tobacco users decreased globally since 2015: WHO

The number of people using tobacco globally decreased to 1.30 billion in 2020, from 1.32 billion in 2015, the World Health Organization WHO has reported. This number was expected to decline to 1.27 billion by 2025, it added.

However, several countries were still not adequately implementing policies to help tobacco users to quit, the WHO said. About 70 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users did not have access to tools to help them to quit successfully, according to WHO.

Taxation was the single most effective tool for reducing tobacco use. But the illicit trade in tobacco products undermined the effectiveness of tax policies, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Illegal tobacco trade is a threat to public health as it increases access to often cheaper tobacco products, according to the WHO. The access to such products fuels the tobacco epidemic and undermines tobacco control policies.

It also causes substantial losses in government revenues.Eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco products is an important goal for public health.

This would also be beneficial for other areas of development, Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

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