Helping people quit tobacco use is key to breaking the cycle of dependence

Helping people quit tobacco use is key to breaking the cycle of dependence

There are 1.3 billion tobacco users today globally, trapped by nicotine’s addictiveness and the manipulative influence of the tobacco industry. Helping people to quit is the key to breaking this dependence and ending the tobacco epidemic. The newly published ‘Global investment case for tobacco cessation’ presents the reasons from the perspectives of health and economy for why countries should do more in supporting people to quit.

Tobacco users have a higher risk of death, disability and chronic health issues, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancers. Every year, 8 million people die from tobacco use and countries have an economic loss of US$ 1.4 trillion. Without cessation, the health burden and costs of tobacco will continue to grow.

The Global investment case shows that, by investing an additional US$ 1.68 per capita each year in evidence-based cessation interventions – such as brief advice, national toll-free quit lines, qualified nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) and SMS-based cessation support – we could help 152 million tobacco users successfully quit globally by 2030, saving millions of lives and contributing to countries’ long-term economic growth.

Tobacco cessation in WHO European Region countries

Only 9 of the 53 countries in the Region offer cessation support at the best-practice level, which means that they both operate a national quit line and provide cost coverage for NRT and other cessation services. Some level of support is provided in another 42 countries. There is ample room for improving policies and the capacity for tobacco cessation in countries in the Region.

The need for cessation services increases

As countries around the world continue to strengthen tobacco control measures, the demand for cessation support will increase. Currently, only about 30% of the world’s population has access to appropriate tobacco cessation services. Governments must help tobacco users secure access to tobacco cessation services that will potentially save their lives and livelihoods. Providing cessation support will also accelerate progress towards meeting global and national health and development targets, and contribute to the reduction of social inequity caused by tobacco use.

Source: WHO