Our view on smoking reduction in the world has changed in recent years as we have begun to recognize the devastating impacts of tobacco use. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the world, and it is a major economic and social burden. Tobacco manufacturers have long battled to hide the dangers of tobacco, but in 2003, WHO Member States unanimously adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This convention is currently in force, with over eighty-two Parties representing 90 percent of the population.
The global prevalence of tobacco addiction has been rising for decades, and behavioural and biological studies have indicated that the problem is acute among young people. Currently, only 5% of smokers are under 25 years old, and nine out of ten begin before they reach adulthood. Ensuring that young people remain smoke-free until midlife will significantly reduce the rates of smoking in the next generation. According to Marissa Reitsma, lead author of several smoking research studies, young people are vulnerable to smoking addiction and need intervention programs to help them quit.
The WHO’s Global Tobacco Trends report shows that, while the number of smokers is falling, the rates of health professionals are increasing. For example, a recent study found that 37% of Algerian medical students smoked in 1999. Other earlier studies found that 61% of Chinese physicians, 54% of hospital workers in Kenya, and 46% of male physicians in Sudan. These high rates of smoking among healthcare professionals are a significant barrier to the implementation of cessation programs. Moreover, smokers may not consider clinicians credible if they know that they are smoking.
The underlying problem is that the global tobacco control efforts are inadequate. Despite the widespread use of tobacco products, the high prevalence of smoking among young people, along with the expansion of new tobacco products, highlight the need for global smoking control. Furthermore, the fact that most smokers are under the age of 25 suggests that interventions targeted at young people are essential in preventing them from becoming regular smokers. By reducing the risk of early tobacco addiction, interventions targeting young people can significantly improve their health.
There are three main strategies for smoking reduction in the world. The first is to reduce the stigma associated with smoking. It is important to make sure that healthcare professionals are aware of the risks of the tobacco product. For instance, the health professionals should be aware of the effects of tobacco products. They should also be trained to recognize warning signs of the disease and to provide the necessary information. The most effective cessation interventions include education, prevention, and educating people about the health consequences of smoking.