The UK is not among 23 countries providing smoking cessation services at the “best practice” level, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The report, published in July 2019, on the “global tobacco epidemic” analysed national efforts to implement the most effective measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that are proven to reduce demand for tobacco.
The measures include the ‘MPOWER’ interventions, introduced in 2007 as a tool to help countries implement WHO FCTC demand reduction measures. MPOWER stands for monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit; warning people about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS); and raising taxes on tobacco.
According to the report, in 2017, the UK had an adult daily smoking prevalence of 17%, compared to the highest in the world, Kiribati at 45%, and the lowest, Ethiopia at 2%. However, many countries did not report their smoking prevalence data to the WHO.
The report highlighted that more low-income countries than high-income countries had completely banned TAPs. The UK, the report notes, is 1 of 30 countries that is one step away from completely banning TAPs; to achieve this, the country must ban industrial sponsorship, the report notes.
Only two countries, Brazil and Turkey, have adopted all MPOWER measures at the highest level.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general at the WHO, said: “Quitting tobacco is one of the best things any person can do for their own health.
“The MPOWER package gives governments the practical tools to help people kick the habit, adding years to their life and life to their years.”