KAMPALA: As the world marks the World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the total number of smokers worldwide has decreased by about 29 million since 2000, and expressed optimism that that it will reach the 2025 target of a 30 per cent reduction.
According to the report titled “WHO global report on trends in the prevalence on tobacco smoking,” released on Thursday, tobacco use in high-income countries decreased from 33.6 percent in 2000 to 24.6 percent in 2015, representing a reduction of 9 percent.
The reported attributed the decrease in the prevalence of smoking for both males and females to the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which undertook intervention such as monitoring tobacco use, develop prevention policies, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship and also raising taxes on tobacco.
Despite a steady reduction in smoking globally, the report said tobacco still kills over 7 million people each year and also raised concern over the high number of youth smokers.
“Surveys conducted around the world among children aged 13–15 years indicate that 24 million of them smoke. The adult surveys show that the first big influx of smokers occurs among people aged 15–24 years, with modest additions to the population of smokers thereafter,” the report adds.
The prevalence of tobacco smoking appears to be decreasing in almost all regions of the world, except for the WHO African and East Mediterranean regions, where the trends appear to be flat. Only one region, the Americas, is on track to reach the 2025 target of a 30% reduction among both males and females.
In Uganda, the report indicates that there is total of about two million tobacco smokers with an Age-standardised prevalence of 10.1 per cent for both males and females. According to the report, Uganda has about 1.1 million daily smokers, out of which one million are males and 180,000 women.
The report further indicates that Uganda men smoke more than women with the tobacco prevalence of 16.7 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively.