WHO: Majority of Countries Are Not Doing Enough to Cut Smoking Rates

The majority of countries are doing nothing or are not doing enough to reduce smoking rates, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week. The WHO said it was encouraged that more than one billion people in 19 countries are now covered by laws that require large, graphic health warnings on packages of tobacco, nearly double the number of two years ago.

According to Reuters, the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011 says that such warnings have been proven to motivate people to quit smoking, and to reduce the appeal of tobacco for people who have not yet become addicted.

The report makes a variety of recommendations for reducing tobacco use, including requiring large, graphic health warnings on tobacco packages, as well as recommendations about monitoring tobacco use; protecting people from tobacco smoke; helping users quit; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and raising taxes on tobacco.

The WHO estimates that more than a billion people worldwide smoke tobacco, and 80 percent live in poor regions. Up to half will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.

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