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4th Edition of WHO Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco use 2000–2025

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Number of tobacco users decreased globally since 2015

As per the 4th edition of the Global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2000–2025 published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 16, 2021, the number of tobacco users (for both sexes combined) has decreased globally from 1.32 billion in 2015 to 1.30 billion in 2020 and is projected to further decline to 1.27 billion by 2025.

  • Currently tobacco use prevalence is defined as the proportion of the population aged 15 years and above who use one or more smoked or smokeless tobacco products on a daily or non-daily basis.
  • Target: India is among the 60 countries , which are on track to achieve the tobacco use reduction target by 2025. Since the last report two years ago, two other regions – the African and South-East Asian regions – have now joined the Americas region on-track to achieve a 30% reduction.
  • South East Asian Region currently has the highest rates of tobacco use, with around 432 million users, or 29% of its population. But this is also the region where tobacco use is declining fastest.
  • Approximately 38 million children (aged 13-15) currently use tobacco (13 million girls and 25 million boys). In most countries it is illegal for minors to purchase tobacco products. The goal is to achieve zero child tobacco users.

Global trends in the number of tobacco users aged 15 years and older:

WHO RegionEstimated number of tobacco users (million)Projected
Both SexesMaleFemaleBoth SexesMaleFemaleBoth SexesMaleFemale
South East Asia 


















Key Points of the Report:

i.According to the report, in 2020, 22.3 percent of the global population used tobacco, 36.7 percent of all men and 7.8 percent of the world’s women.

ii.WHO estimates that eliminating illicit trade could reduce cigarette consumption by almost 2 percent and increase tax revenues by an average of 11 percent.

  • At present Tobacco is a highly taxed commodity. It is kept in the 28 percent GST (Goods Service Tax) slab (other than for tobacco leaves which is taxed at 5 percent).

iii.The report presents trends in tobacco use, tobacco smoking and cigarette smoking in 165 countries representing  97 percent of the global population.

Tobacco in India:

i.India is the second-largest consumer and producer of tobacco. Tobacco is the major cause for death and disease in India and accounts for nearly 1.35 million deaths every year.

ii.In October 2021, the Government of India has set up an expert group led by a senior official in the health ministry to prepare a comprehensive tax policy proposal covering all tobacco products from a public health perspective.

  • The 9-member panel is led by Vikas Sheel, additional secretary in the Health ministry.

Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products:

i.WHO Member States unanimously adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2003.

ii.The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is the first protocol to WHO FCTC. The objective of the Protocol is to eliminate all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products, in accordance with the terms of the WHO FCTC.

iii.As per the United Nations, there are 64 parties to the Protocol as of November 16, 2021.

iv.Ghana joined the protocol recently in October 2021. India has been a party to the Protocol since June 2018.

Note – WHO published the 1st edition of this report in 2015, the 2nd in 2018 and the 3rd in 2019.

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About World Health Organization (WHO):

Establishment – 7 April 1948
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland
Director General – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Member Countries – 194 (including India)