Global Tobacco Control Updates

Strong tobacco control policies have prevented almost 22 million deaths since 2007
12 Jan 2017
Research Alert

The World Health Organization (WHO) established MPOWER in 2008 to help countries implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). A new study published in Tobacco Control estimates the impact of countries having adopted at least one "highest level" MPOWER measure through 2014. Results are based on projections from SimSmoke, a tobacco control policy simulation model that estimates policy impacts on number of smokers and number of smoking-attributable deaths. Researchers applied policy effect sizes based on previously validated SimSmoke models (which incorporate enforcement of tobacco control laws) to the number of smokers in each country to determine the reduction in the number of smokers resulting from policy adoption. SimSmoke calculated the number of smoking-attributable deaths averted based on research finding that half of all smokers die from smoking.

Key Findings

  • 88 countries adopted at least one highest level MPOWER policy between 2007 and 2014.
  • The adoption of highest level MPOWER policies across 88 countries is estimated to have prevented almost 22 million smoking-attributable deaths. The number of deaths averted result from five policy measures:
    • Cigarettes taxes increased to at least 75 percent of retail price (7 million smoking-attributable deaths averted). 
    • Comprehensive smoke-free laws (5.4 million smoking-attributable deaths averted).
    • Laws mandating at pictorial health warnings on cigarettes packs covering at least 50 percent of the pack (4.1 million smoking-attributable deaths averted). 
    • Comprehensive bans on tobacco marketing (3.8 million smoking-attributable deaths averted).
    • Comprehensive cessation interventions (1.5 million smoking-attributable deaths averted).

Key Messages

  • Adoption and implementation of evidence-based MPOWER tobacco control measures at their highest level will prevent millions of premature deaths. 
  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control obligates Parties to adopt strong tobacco control measures to protect public health. These measures include tobacco taxation and pricing policies that greatly reduce the affordability of tobacco products, comprehensive bans on smoking in public places, laws mandating large, clear, and multiple rotating pictorial health warnings on all tobacco products, comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, and comprehensive cessation interventions to help smoker quit.

Full Citation:Levy DT, Yuan Z, Luo Y, et al. Tob Control Published Online First:[12 December 2016] doi:10.1136/ tobaccocontrol-2016-053381

Additional Resources:

Tobacco Controlis an internationally peer-reviewed journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide. The journal is for health professionals and others in tobacco control and is a publication of theBritish Medical Journal.


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