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WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2023

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Social Justice, Health


Source: IE, IE

 Context: The new WHO report on tobacco control highlights global progress, including the implementation of MPOWER measures.


What is the MPOWER measure?

MPOWER measures are tobacco control strategies developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008. They include:

  • M=Monitor tobacco use
  • P=Protect people from tobacco smoke
  • O=Offer help to quit tobacco
  • W=Warn about tobacco dangers
  • E=Enforce bans on tobacco advertising
  • R=Raise taxes on tobacco products


Key highlights of the Report:

Global Smoking DeclineWorldwide, with 300 million fewer smokers today, the prevalence of smoking declined from 22.8% (2007) to 17% (2021)
Implementation ProgressOver 5 billion people (71% of the global population) are protected by at least one MPOWER measure
Countries Implementing MPOWERThe number of countries implementing at least one MPOWER measure increased from 44 (2008) to 151 (2022). Only 4 counties (Brazil, Turkey, Netherlands, and Mauritius) have implemented all measures.
E-cigarettes WarningWHO warns against the aggressive promotion of e-cigarettes as a safer alternative, especially for youth
Second-hand Smoke ImpactSecond-hand smoke exposure is linked to over 1 million non-smoker deaths annually, various health issues
India’s AchievementsIndia excels in health warning labels and tobacco dependence treatment; bans sale of e-cigarettes
27% reduction in smoking in public places in Bengaluru due to enforcement and communication efforts
RecommendationsNeed for warnings on OTT platforms, stronger enforcement, bans on loose cigarette sales, and increased fines; Bans on tobacco advertising can minimize its consumption
Efforts to reduce second-hand smoking through smoke-free public areas and awareness campaigns


Impact of tobacco smoking:

Health Issues Due to Tobacco Smoking
General PopulationCardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues, cancer
Children and AdolescentsRespiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Pregnant WomenPregnancy complications, low birth weight, developmental issues
SmokersLung cancer, COPD, decreased lung function
Second-hand SmokersRespiratory infections, asthma, heart diseases
Workforce and ProductivityIncreased sick leave, decreased productivity
Low-Income IndividualsThe financial burden of tobacco-related health issues
Elderly PopulationAggravation of age-related health problems
People with Pre-existingAggravation of existing conditions like asthma and diabetes



Key initiatives taken by India:

Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2019Enacted to combat the use of e-cigarettes, aiming to address their health risks.
National Health Policy 2017Aims to reduce tobacco use by 30% by 2025 through awareness and preventive measures.
Warnings covering 85% area on tobacco product packsMandates large health warnings on tobacco product packs to increase awareness.
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco ControlIndia is a party to this international treaty, committed to tobacco control measures.
Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA 2003)prohibition of

·        smoking in public places

·        advertisement of cigarettes

·        sale of tobacco products to anyone below the age of 18 years

·        prohibition of selling areas like schools, colleges, etc.

National Tobacco Control Programme and Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan.
31st May is observed as World No Tobacco Day’ every year to spread awareness about the deadly effects of tobacco consumption.

Tobacco cultivation in India: It is one of the important cash crops. Today, India is the second-largest crop producer in the world after China.


Insta Links:

 World No Tobacco Day


Mains Links:

Limiting the discovery of tobacco products can prolong the resistance and not prevent it. India urgently needs a National Tobacco Control Policy with a special focus on children. Comment. (10M)