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February 7, 2008

WHO Tobacco Epidemic Report Points to the Need for Immediate, Aggressive Tobacco Control

Report Developed with Contributions from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008, its first comprehensive report highlighting the scope of the global tobacco epidemic and strategies for controlling it. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Institute for Global Tobacco Control contributed to development of the report as a partner in the Bloomberg Tobacco Control Initiative.

The report, released February 7 in New York, estimates that the number of people killed worldwide by tobacco use could increase from 5.4 deaths annually to 8 million deaths annually by 2030. It further states that one billion people could die from tobacco use by the end of the century unless action is taken.
The report also outlines six policy initiatives to counter the growing tobacco epidemic. Together these polices are known as MPOWER, an acronym for
Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; Protect people from tobacco smoke; Offer help to quit tobacco use; Warn about the danger of tobacco; Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and Raise taxes on tobacco.

“This report rigorously documents the tobacco epidemic and the steps being taken to control it,” said Jonathan Samet, MD, MS, co-director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control and chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology. “We have defined the target for control and now with the effective tools that we have, we need to bring the epidemic to an end.”

Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic is available online at Future reports will chart progress towards ending the global tobacco epidemic.

The Institute for Global Tobacco Control (IGTC) was founded in 1998 and designated a “collaborating center” of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO in 2004. As a collaborating center, the IGTC supports global efforts to reduce tobacco use. The IGTC is one of three tobacco control surveillance and evaluation collaborating centers in the United States, which include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of California, San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. In 2006, the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the IGTC became one of five organizations to receive funds from a $125 million global initiative established by Michael R. Bloomberg.

Public Affairs media contact: Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or