12 Jul 2013 11:19

ACCRA, July 11 (BERNAMA-NNN-GNA) -- The World Health Organisation (WHO) in it 2013 report on global tobacco epidemic says more people are benefitting from an effective tobacco control measure.

It said at 2.3 billion, the number of people worldwide covered by at least one life-saving measure to limit tobacco use has more than doubled in the last five years.

Tarik Jasarevic, WHO communications officer in Geneva, made the report available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) here Wednesday.

The number of people covered by bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, the focus of this year’s report, increased by almost 400 million people, residing mainly in low and middle-income countries.

Furthermore, the report shows that three billion people were now covered by national anti-tobacco campaigns and as a result, hundreds of millions of non-smokers are less likely to start.

However, the report noted that in order to achieve the globally agreed target of a 30 per cent reduction of tobacco use by 2025, more countries had to implement comprehensive tobacco control programmes.

"Bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are one of the most powerful measures to control tobacco use. As of today, 24 countries with 694 million people have introduced complete bans and 100 more countries are close to a complete ban," it said.

"However, 67 countries currently do not ban any tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities or have a ban that excludes advertising in national broadcast and print media."

The report noted that tobacco is the leading global cause of preventable death and kills six million people every year.

If current trends continued, the number of deaths attributed to tobacco smoking is projected to rise to eight million a year by 2030.