Anti-Tobacco Efforts Lead to 53 Million Fewer Smokers Worldwide

MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Tobacco-control programs helped 53 million people quit smoking in 88 countries between 2008 and 2014, a new study says.

The researchers said that translates to more than 22 million lives saved in those countries due to the drop in smoking rates.

“Our findings show the enormous and continuing potential to saving millions of lives by implementing tobacco control policies that have been proven to work,” said study lead author David Levy, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

“These new findings can help those countries — more than half of the 196 total who have not yet undertaken lifesaving tobacco control measures — better understand the powerful public health impact they offer,” he said in a hospital news release.

The new study reviewed the effect of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which began in 2005. As of 2015, 186 countries had ratified the framework. The United States isn’t one of them.

At least 88 of the countries have put at least one of its measures into effect, the researchers said.

So, what works to help people stop smoking?

The study authors estimated that higher cigarette taxes contributed to 7 million lives saved. Smoke-free laws helped save 5.4 million lives, the researchers said.

Health warnings contributed to 4.1 million lives saved, while marketing bans helped save 3.8 million lives, the researchers estimated. Finally, quit-smoking efforts contributed to 1.5 million lives saved, the study said.

The researchers said the numbers have been boosted by the recent implementation of measures in Bangladesh (health warnings, higher taxes), the Russian Federation (smoke-free laws, advertising restrictions) and Vietnam (health warnings).

The study appears Dec. 12 in Tobacco Control.

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