The WHO Projects One Billion Tobacco-Related Deaths in the 21st Century

Feb 12, 2008

The WHO recently released new data on global tobacco use, its health impact, and legislative efforts to control it. The WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008 reveals that 5.4 million tobacco-related deaths occur each year. Without substantial anti-tobacco efforts the epidemic could kill one billion people within the 21st century. The report also predicts that by 2030, 80 percent of these deaths will be in developing countries. At present, only five percent of the world's population lives in nations with "comprehensive smoke-free legislation". WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, states, "reversing this entirely preventable epidemic must now rank as a top priority for public health and for political leaders in every country of the world." The report outlines six policies that will curb the tobacco epidemic if adopted and effectively implemented by national governments.

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Experts & Staff

  • Roger-Mark De Souza // Director of Population, Environmental Security and Resilience, Wilson Center
  • Sandeep Bathala // Senior Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative
  • Katrina Braxton // Program Assistant, Maternal Health Initiative
  • Schuyler Null // Web Editor and Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative