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Posted On : 22 Mar, 2017  Source : PTI  Place : New Delhi 
Smoking population down by over 2 pc post global treaty
A global tobacco control treaty, which India is a party to, has increased the adoption of tobacco reduction measures around the world and led to a over 2 per cent reduction in global smoking rates, a study has said.

The study published in The Lancet Public Health said that despite worldwide progress since the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) came into effect in 2005, not all key demand-reduction measures have been fully implemented and doing so could reduce tobacco use even further.

The treaty obligates the 180 countries committed to it to implement strong evidence-based policies, including five key measures -- high tobacco taxes, smoke-free public spaces, warning labels, comprehensive advertising bans, and support for stop smoking services.

"On average, smoking rates across the 126 countries went down from 24.7 per cent in 2005 to 22.2 per cent in 2015 - a reduction of 2.5 per cent," it said.

India signed the treaty in September 2003 and ratified in February 2004, according to the UN website.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project, based at the University of Waterloo in Canada and the World Health Organization in Geneva.

It noted that although progress in combating the global tobacco epidemic has been substantial, this progress has fallen short of the pace of global tobacco control action called for by the treaty.

India is third among the countries with the largest pictorial warning on tobacco products, according to Cigarette Package Health Warnings International Status Report released earlier.

India has successfully implemented, from April 2016, the large pictorial health warnings occupying 85 per cent of the principal display area of tobacco packs and on all forms of tobacco.

According to the WHO, tobacco use causes nearly six million deaths a year globally. It also poses a huge burden on the global economy through healthcare and lost productivity costs of more than USD 1 trillion each year.

The Seventh Session of Conference of Parties (COP7) to WHO FCTC was hosted by India for the first time and the eighth edition will be held in Switzerland's Geneva under the presidency of India.

The report said by 2014, support for stop smoking services had been adopted by 16 per cent of countries (20 of 126) and a quarter (25.4 per cent, 32 of 126) had implemented health warnings on cigarette packaging.

A fifth of countries (22.2 per cent, 28 of 126) had implemented high taxation on tobacco - the most effective measure for reducing smoking, especially in low- and middle-income countries where smokers are more price sensitive, it said.