Health

India to be the only south-east Asian country to achieve smoking reduction target by 2025

Globally, only 24 countries seem to be achieving WHO's 2025 target of reducing global prevalence of tobacco use by 30 per cent

 
By Banjot Kaur
Last Updated: Friday 01 June 2018
The Americas is the only WHO region that will see the prevalence of smoking among males reducing by 30 per cent. Credit: Pexels
The Americas is the only WHO region that will see the prevalence of smoking among males reducing by 30 per cent. Credit: Pexels The Americas is the only WHO region that will see the prevalence of smoking among males reducing by 30 per cent. Credit: Pexels

This World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) brings in good news for India. It is going to be the only southeast Asian country which will achieve the World Health Organization (WHO)’s target of 30 per cent reduction in smoking prevalence by 2025  from the prevalent rate of 2010 (baseline).  The world, on a whole, would nonetheless miss the target.

On the eve of the World No Tobacco Day, the WHO released the second edition of global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco smoking 2000-2025, which traces prevalence rate of smoking in 146 countries and gives projections up to 2025. By a simple calculation, the actual targets could be deduced from these figures. India, in 2010, had a prevalence rate of 13.5 per cent. A reduction by 30 per cent would have meant bringing down prevalence rate to 9.45 per cent. However, WHO projects that it would go down to 8.5 per cent. (See table)

Country

2000

2005

2010

2015

2020

2025

ACTUAL TARGET

 

Bangladesh

29.9

27.1

24.6

22.8

21.3

20.2

17.22

 

Bhutan *

               

Korea *

               

Indonesia

31.9

33.8

36.7

38.8

41

42.7

prevalence going up

 

Maldives

37.3

33.8

31.2

28.9

26.9

25.5

21.84

 

Myanmar

31.2

26.9

23.4

20.6

18

16

16.38

 

Nepal

34.4

29.4

24.9

21.6

19.3

17.9

17.43

 

Sri Lanka

16

15.5

14.1

13.5

12.8

12.2

9.87

 

Thailand

25

23.5

22.4

20.9

19.5

18.4

15.6

 

Timor-Leste

51.3

49

46.1

42.5

39.4

36.6

32.27

 

India

19.4

16.1

13.5

11.5

9.8

8.5

9.45

 
Source of trends and projections: Second edition of WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco smoking 2000-2025. Prevalence rate for all the years in percentage.  *Data not available

Global scenario

Of all the 146 countries, only 24 countries seem to be achieving the 2025 target. “Despite decreasing prevalence, the reductions are projected to be insufficient to achieve the target in 82 countries. The prevalence is projected to remain flat for 34 countries and to increase in 6 countries by 2025,” the report says. (See table for global projections)

Number of countries that

 

 

 

WHO region

 

are likely to achieve a 30% relative reduction

are likely to achieve a decrease in prevalence but less than

30%

 

are unlikely to experience a significant change in prevalence

 

are likely to experience an increase in prevalence

 

did not have enough data for calculating a trend

 

 

were assessed in total

All

24

82

34

6

48

194

African

1

21

8

2

15

47

Americas

10

6

4

0

15

35

Eastern Mediterranean

0

3

9

2

7

21

European

6

31

10

1

5

53

South East Asian

1

7

0

1

2

11

Western Pacific

6

14

3

0

4

27

 

The WHO estimates that globally, there are at least 367 million smokeless tobacco users aged above 15 years. "Although smokeless tobacco is used in all regions, the WHO South-East Asian Region has by far the largest number of users (301 million), representing 82 per cent of all users worldwide. 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 per cent reduction among both males and females," says the report.

Trends based on gender and region

"As the estimated global prevalence of tobacco smoking in 2010 (baseline for the target) was 22.1 per cent for both sexes, 36.6 per cent for males and 7.5 per cent for females, the global target of a 30 per cent relative reduction will require that the prevalence be reduced to 15.5 per cent for both sexes, 25.6 per cent for males and 5.3 per cent for females," the report says.

Females, the report predicts, will exceed the target by 0.6 per cent, while the number of male smokers would go up by 2025. “Whereas the decrease in rates among females is likely sufficient to achieve the 2025 target, the slower progress among males is cause for concern. Unless tobacco-control measures that affect males are strengthened, the reduction by 2025 will be 4.4 per cent above the target, at a projected prevalence of 30 per cent in 2025. Thus, the number of male smokers is projected to increase from 912 million in 2000 to 948 million in 2025,” says the report, recommending male-centric efforts for tobacco control. 

A region-wise analysis for males suggests that all WHO regions will witness downward trends, except the Eastern Mediterranean where the prevalence is projected to increase from 33.1 per cent in 2010 to 36.2 per cent in 2025.The Americas is the only WHO region that will see the prevalence of smoking among males reducing by 30 per cent.

A region-wise analysis among females suggests that female smoking is relatively high in the Americas and European regions, with latter being the only region that is not expected to reach a 30 per cent relative reduction among females.

Trends based on age and income

An age-wise analysis revealed that among all age groups, the people between 45 and 54 years consistently had the highest prevalence rate, which is 25.4 per cent. The lowest prevalence is among the people above 85 years.

The WHO study also analysed the income-wise country profiles. “Analysis of the net reduction in the number of smokers between 2000 and 2015 by country income level showed that the net gain was due to a reduction of 62 million smokers in high-income countries, despite the increase of 33 million smokers in low- and middle-income countries,” the report says, asserting that without aggressively targeting the low-and middle-income countries, the tobacco burden can’t be reduced globally.

The report categorically states that strong anti-tobacco policies in the low- and middle-income regions have been impeded by lobbying from tobacco industry. India, incidentally, falls under the group of lower-middle income countries. “Tobacco industry interference efforts target low- and middle-income countries to make up for losses in the number of smokers (and revenue) in high-income countries where tobacco control efforts have been more intensively implemented over a longer period of time,” the report concludes.

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