WHO releases Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic: Offer help to Quit Tobacco Use (26 July 2019)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released a new Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic: Offer Help to Quit Tobacco Use

Background Information:

This, the seventh WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic analyses national efforts to implement the most effective measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that are proven to reduce demand for tobacco.

Tobacco cessation services include national toll-free quit lines, “mCessation” services to reach larger populations via mobile phones, counselling by primary health care providers and cost-covered nicotine replacement therapy.

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 How quitting helps your body

E-cigarettes and other products marketed as “cessation aids”:

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) are tobacco products that produce aerosols containing nicotine and toxic chemicals upon heating of the tobacco or activation of a device containing the tobacco. These aerosols are inhaled by users during a process of sucking or smoking involving a device. They contain the highly addictive substance nicotine, non-tobacco additives and are often flavoured. The tobacco may be in the form of specially designed cigarettes (e.g. “heat sticks”, “Neo sticks”) or pods or plugs.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are devices that heat a liquid to create an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. The liquid contains nicotine (but not tobacco) and other chemicals that may be toxic to people’s health.

Electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS) are similar to ENDS but the heated solution delivered as an aerosol through the device does not generally contain nicotine.

Key Messages:

Offering help to quit – the focus of this seventh WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic – is an essential component of any tobacco control strategy. Global targets for reducing tobacco use will not be reached unless current tobacco users quit, and indeed, many tobacco users report that they want to quit.

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 Smokers who intend to quit

With the help of cost-effective population-based interventions, as outlined in the “O” measure of MPOWER (Offer help to quit tobacco use), tobacco users greatly increase their chances of successfully quitting.

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 Types of Tobacco Cessation Interventions

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 Stepwise approach to developing cessation systems

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 Examples of minimal expanded and advanced cessation interventions

One third of the world’s population – 2.4 billion people in 23 countries – have access
to cessation services provided at best practice level. This is 2 billion more people (26% of the world’s population) protected by comprehensive cessation support programmes since 2007, meaning that cessation programmes are now the second most adopted MPOWER measure in terms of population coverage. This is thanks to two large countries, India and Brazil, adopting comprehensive cessation support at best-practice level.

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 Share of world population covered by selected tobacco control

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 Increased proportion of abstinence from smoking

Since the last report, issued in 2017, the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2019, finds that:

  • 36 countries have introduced one or more MPOWER measures at the highest level of achievement.
  • Over half of the world’s population – 3.9 billion people living in 91 countries – benefit from large graphic pack warnings featuring all recommended characteristics, making it the MPOWER measure with both the highest population coverage and the most countries covered.
  • 14 countries have implemented large graphic warning laws at best practice level, making it the MPOWER policy with the greatest growth in terms of country uptake during the last two years.
  • The greatest growth in population coverage was seen in tobacco taxation. The population coverage from this MPOWER policy has almost doubled from 8% in 2016 to 14% in 2018. But while being the most effective way to reduce tobacco use, taxation is still the MPOWER policy with the lowest population coverage.
  • Of the 5 billion people protected by at least one MPOWER policy, 3.9 billion live in LMICs (or 61% of all people in LMICs).
  • 59 countries have yet to adopt a single MPOWER measure at the highest level of achievement – 49 are LMICs.
  • In the world’s 34 low-income countries, 17 today have at least one MPOWER policy in place at best-practice level compared to three in 2007, showing that income level is not a barrier to best-practice tobacco control


For each MPOWER measure, there have been new countries that have implemented some of the measures at the best practice level since the last report:

  • 7 (Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Burundi, Gambia, Guyana, Niue and Tajikistan) have adopted complete smoke-free laws covering all indoor public places and workplaces.
  • 4 (Czechia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and Sweden) advanced to best-practice level with cessation services. But during the same period, six other countries dropped from the highest group, resulting in a net loss of two countries.
  • 14 (Barbados, Cameroon, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Guyana, Honduras, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain and Timor-Leste) adopted large graphic pack warnings.
  • 10 (Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Benin, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Guyana, Niue, Saudi Arabia and Slovenia) introduced comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
  • 10 (Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia and Thailand) raised taxes to comprise at least 75% of retail prices.

Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs):

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 Heated Tobacco Products

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 ENDS

Useful Links:

Link to the related WHO news release:


Link to the new WHO Report (English):


Links to WHO Tobacco Free Initiative videos:


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