THE number of people smoking across the world has fallen by 20million, researchers have said.
A report published by the World Health Organisation on Tuesday (November 16) said that the results were ‘encouraging’ but ‘fragile’ and there remains 1.3 billion smokers worldwide.
The number of tobacco?users continues to decrease globally, going from 1.32 billion in 2015 to 1.30 billion last year.
A total of 60 countries are now on track to achieving the voluntary global target of a 30% reduction in smokers between 2010 and 2025 – up from 32 countries two years ago.
The WHO found that the number of smokers is expected to fall to 1.27 billion by 2025, indicating a decrease of some 50 million tobacco users over a seven-year period, even as the global population has grown.
“It is very encouraging to see fewer people using tobacco each year,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
“But still have a long way to go, and tobacco companies will continue to use every trick in the book to defend the gigantic profits they make from peddling their deadly wares.”
Global health leaders are urging countries to invest an additional $1.68 (£1.25) per person per year, which would see 152 million more people successfully quit, and nearly three million lives saved by 2030.
The WHO says that beyond the 16 million lives could be saved in total.
Tobacco use is estimated to kill more than eight million people each year, most of them directly due to their own tobacco use, while 1.2 million of them are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke, according to WHO numbers.
Ruediger Krech, head of the WHO’s health promotion department, warned that the success of the campaign to curb the habit is still ‘fragile’.
He said: “We are seeing great progress in many countries but this success is fragile.”
In 2020, 22% of the global population smoked tobacco, including approximately 38 million children aged 13-15.
While the numbers are coming down, the report, which did not include electronic cigarette use, highlighted that 36.7% of men and 7.8% of women were still using tobacco products last year around the world.