THE prevalence of tobacco users in Zimbabwe is expected to drop next year to 12percent from 24, 6 percent in 2015, a latest World Health Organisation report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000-2025 forecasts.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The third edition of this report, states in 2000 the prevalence of tobacco users and smokers stood in Zimbabwe was 29, 6 dropping to 24, 6 percent in 2015 while expected to further decrease to 12 percent in 2020. The WHO projects the prevalence to be reduced to 11, 4 percent in 2025.
However there was a steady decrease between 2018 and 2017 regarding the trends of tobacco users and smokers.
For ages 15 and older, the 2018 tobacco smoking rates for both sexes was averaged or point estimated at 12,2 with a lower limit of 8, 1 while the upper limit was 16, 3 percent. Males in the age range had a lower limit of 16, 1, a point estimate of 24 and an upper limit of 31, 7.
Females had a lower limit of 0, 6 percent, an upper limit of 1, 7percent and a point estimate of 1, 1 percent.
In 2017, For ages 15 and older, tobacco smoking rates for both sexes was averaged or point estimated at 14,2 with the lower limit at 9, 4 percent while the upper limit was 18,9 percent. Males had a lower limit of 18, 5 a point estimate of 27, 7 and an upper limit of 36, 6..
Females had a lower limit of 0, 7 percent, an upper limit of 2, 1 percent and a point estimate of 1, 3 percent.
In 2000 the prevalence of tobacco users and smokers stood at Zimbabwe 29, 6 dropping to 24, 6 percent in 2015 while expected to further decrease to 12 percent in 2020. The WHO projects the prevalence to be reduced to 11, 4 percent in 2025.
The findings published on Thursday demonstrate how government-led action can protect communities from tobacco, save lives and prevent people suffering tobacco-related harm.
“Declines in tobacco use amongst males mark a turning point in the fight against tobacco,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “For many years now we had witnessed a steady rise in the number of males using deadly tobacco products. But now, for the first time, we are seeing a decline in male use, driven by governments being tougher on the tobacco industry. WHO will continue working closely with countries to maintain this downward trend.”
But positively, the new report shows that the number of male tobacco users has stopped growing and is projected to decline by more than 1 million fewer male users come 2020 (or 1.091 billion) compared to 2018 levels, and 5 million less by 2025 (1.087 billion).
By 2020, WHO projects there will be 10 million fewer tobacco users, male and female, compared to 2018, and another 27 million less by 2025, amounting to 1.299 billion. Some 60% of countries have been experiencing a decline in tobacco use since 2010.
“Reductions in global tobacco use demonstrate that when governments introduce and strengthen their comprehensive evidence-based actions, they can protect the well-being of their citizens and communities,” said Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO.
Despite such gains, progress in meeting the global target set by governments to cut tobacco use by 30% by 2025 remains off track. Based on current progress, a 23% reduction will be achieved by 2025. Only 32 countries are currently on track to reach the 30% reduction target.
However, the projected decline in tobacco use among males, who represent the overwhelming majority of tobacco users, can be built on and used to accelerate efforts to reach to the global target, said Dr Vinayak Prasad, head of WHO’s tobacco control unit.
“Fewer people are using tobacco, which is a major step for global public health,” said Dr Prasad. “But the work is not yet done. Without stepped up national action, the projected fall in tobacco use still won’t meet global reduction targets. We must never let up in the fight against Big Tobacco.”
During nearly the past two decades, overall global tobacco use has fallen, from 1.397 billion in 2000 to 1.337 billion in 2018, or by approximately 60 million people, according to the WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000-2025 third edition.
More and more countries are implementing effective tobacco control measures, which are having the desired effect of reducing tobacco use, according to WHO.
“Tobacco taxes not only help reduce tobacco consumption and health-care costs, but also represent a revenue stream for financing for development in many countries,” the WHO said.