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Global tobacco use is declining but stronger tobacco control is still needed
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published a report on the global trend of tobacco use. The report demonstrates a downward trend of tobacco use and, for the first time, reduction in male tobacco users.

Globally, around one-third (33.3%) of the population aged 15 years were current tobacco users in 2000. The prevalence declined to 24.9% in 2015, and is projected to further decline to 20.9% by 2025. Despite the steady decline, male tobacco users were increasing between 2000 and 2018. Thanks to the tobacco control efforts of governments, the number has stopped growing and started to decline since 2018.

Among the 6 WHO regions, the South East Asian Region has the highest prevalence tobacco use, but has shown the strongest decline due to advances in tobacco control policies. Since 2012, all countries in the region have introduced or upgraded MPOWER measures (Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; Protecting people from tobacco smoke; Offering help to quit tobacco use; Warning about the dangers of tobacco; Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and Raising taxes on tobacco).

The WHO has targeted to reduce the global tobacco use by 30% by 2025. However, most countries will fall short of the target based on the current progress and level of tobacco control. Additional efforts are needed to accelerate the decline. According to the Global Tobacco Strategy to Accelerate Tobacco Control released by the WHO earlier, price and tax measures are prioritized measures.

The smoking prevalence in Hong Kong is 10.0%, and the Government aims to reduce the prevalence to 7.8% by 2025. COSH urges the Government to continue to strengthen various tobacco control measures, especially substantial tobacco tax increase, to reach the target and further reduce the prevalence to 5% by 2027 to archive tobacco endgame.

Source: World Health Organization
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