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Tobacco companies are beating governments' efforts to stop smoking worldwide | CNN

July 21, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.9%. 2 min read.

Smoking rates, especially among youth, remain too high globally, writes Dr. Kelly Henning. To combat this, governments have to increase their efforts to pass policies that can counter the tobacco industry's relentless push to addict new generations of children.

Per the World Health Organization, more than 80% of smokers live in low- and middle-income countries, which tend to have fewer tobacco control measures in place and higher rates of tobacco-related death and disease.

And while it may be tempting to point the finger at the individual smoker, it is our institutions that are to blame: governments have been too slow to pass policies that we know protect people from the tobacco industry’s relentless push to addict new generations of children.

There are effective, proven strategies that governments can proactively adopt to protect kids from the dangers of tobacco products and the exploitive tactics used by tobacco companies – but countries are moving far too slowly to adopt them.

The WHO has identified six specific tobacco-control measures that are proven to effectively reduce and prevent tobacco use: tobacco-use monitoring, which includes data collection efforts on smoking rates and trends among kids and adults; smoke-free air laws, which prohibit smoking in public places; tobacco cessation programs, including medication-assisted quitting programs covered by public or private insurance; large pictorial warning labels; bans on marketing and advertising; and higher taxes.

To take one example: the WHO has identified higher tobacco taxes as one of the most cost-effective policies to reduce cigarette smoking.

Nevertheless, only 14% of the world’s population lives in countries where tobacco taxes are high enough to reduce use.

It has been more than a decade since the federal tobacco tax was increased; pictorial warning labels, finally slated to take effect in 2022, have been blocked in the US for more than a decade due to tobacco company lawsuits and subsequent court rulings; and smoke-free air laws remain a patchwork across states and communities.

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