Tobacco advertising ban powerful tool to cut smoking -WHO

At 2.3 billion, the number of people worldwide covered by at least one life-saving measure to limit tobacco use has more than doubled in the last five years.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013, released in Geneva on Wednesday, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are one of the most powerful measures to control tobacco use.
The report highlighted 24 countries — with 694 million people — who have introduced complete bans and 100 more countries are close to a complete ban.
The report further shows that three billion people were now covered by national anti-tobacco campaigns. As a result, hundreds of millions of non-smokers are less likely to start.
It, however, noted that 67 countries currently do not ban any tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities or have a ban that excludes advertising in national broadcast and print media.
WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said that every country had the responsibility to protect its population from tobacco-related illness, disability and death.
“If we do not close ranks and ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, adolescents and young adults will continue to be lured into tobacco consumption by an ever-more aggressive tobacco industry,” Dr Chan warned.
Director of WHO’s Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases Department, Dr Douglas Bettcher, said countries that introduced complete bans together with other tobacco control measures have been able to cut tobacco use significantly within only a few years.
“We know that only complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective,” Bettcher said.
Other key findings of the report include that there are 32 countries that passed complete smoking bans covering all work places, public places and public transportation means between 2007 and 2012, protecting nearly 900 million additional people.
Since 2010, 12 countries and one territory, with 350 million people, passed strong smoke-free laws at a national level.
To achieve the globally agreed target of a 30% reduction of tobacco use by 2025, the report notes that more countries have to implement comprehensive tobacco control programmes.
In South Africa, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act was passed in 1999. This act bans all advertising and promotion of tobacco products, including sponsorship and free distribution of tobacco products.

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