Progress in global tobacco control has been strong since MPOWER was introduced in 2007 as a tool to help countries implement WHO FCTC demand reduction measures. Five billion people – about 65% of the world’s population – are now covered by at least one MPOWER measure at the highest level of achievement. This number has more than quadrupled since 2007 when only 1 billion people – 15% of the world’s population – were protected by at least one MPOWER measure (not including Monitoring or Mass media campaigns, which are assessed separately).
Since the last WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, two years ago, progress has been steady, with 15 countries that previously had no best-practice measures taking action to reach best-practice level on one or more measures, and a further 21 countries that had at least one measure in place adding at least one more. This means a total of 36 countries introduced one or more MPOWER measures at the highest level of achievement between 2016 and 2018.
Offering help to quit – the focus of this seventh WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic – is an essential component of any tobacco control strategy. Global targets for reducing tobacco use will not be reached unless current tobacco users quit, and indeed, many tobacco users report that they want to quit. With the help of cost-effective population-based interventions, as outlined in the “O” measure of MPOWER (Offer help to quit tobacco use), tobacco users greatly increase their chances of successfully quitting.
Unfortunately, only 13 new countries have started providing comprehensive cessation programmes since 2007. There are now 23 countries protected by this measure, up from 10 countries in 2007.
However, in terms of population coverage, progress is still promising. One third of the world’s population – 2.4 billion people in 23 countries – have access to cessation services provided at best-practice level. This is 2 billion more people (26% of the world’s population) protected by comprehensive cessation support programmes since 2007, meaning that cessation programmes are now the second most adopted MPOWER measure in terms of population coverage. This is thanks to two large countries, India and Brazil, adopting comprehensive cessation support at best-practice level.