A recent report released by the World Health Organization projected what it calls “a powerful shift in the global tobacco epidemic”. While male tobacco use rose by around 40 million, from 1.050 billion in 2000 to 1.093 billion in 2018, the report projected a decline in the number of males using tobacco. The number has stopped growing and is projected to decline by more than 1 million male users come 2020 (or 1.091 billion) compared to 2018 levels, and 5 million less by 2025 (1.087 billion).
Overall global tobacco use fell from 1.397 billion in 2000 to 1.337 billion in 2018 (around 60 million people). The fall was largely driven by reductions in the number of females using tobacco products — with their numbers shrinking from 346 million in 2000 to 244 million in 2018, or more than 100 million users.
“By 2020, WHO projects there will be 10 million fewer tobacco users, male and female, compared to 2018, and another 27 million less by 2025, amounting to 1.299 billion. Some 60 per cent of countries have been experiencing a decline in tobacco use since 2010,” the WHO said.
In India, which had a 44% prevalence of tobacco use (male and female combined) in 2000, this is expected to reduce almost by half to 22.3% by 2025. Globally, the prevalence was at 33.3% in 2000, and is projected to reach 20.9% in 2025.
Current tobacco use rates in India in 2018 for people aged 15 years and older were higher than global rates among both males and females. However, the rates of tobacco smoking were lower than global rates.
Among other key findings, the report found that approximately 43 million children (aged 13-15) over the world used tobacco in 2018 (14 million girls and 29 million boys). “… More and more countries are implementing effective tobacco control measures, which are having the desired effect of reducing tobacco use. Tobacco taxes not only help reduce tobacco consumption and health-care costs, but also represent a revenue stream for financing for development in many countries,” WHO said.
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