Health

Global tobacco use falls, World Health Organization says

While the WHO applauds the drop in tobacco use, it notes that 1.25 billion adults still use tobacco.

Cigarette butts fill a smoking receptacle outside a federal building in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
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A global effort to reduce tobacco use is apparently working. 

The World Health Organizations reports that 1 in 5 adults worldwide currently use tobacco. That's down from the reported 1 in 3 adults who were using tobacco in 2020. 

While the World Health Organization applauds the drop in tobacco use, it notes that 1.25 billion adults still use tobacco. 

“Good progress has been made in tobacco control in recent years, but there is no time for complacency," said Dr. Ruediger Krech, director of WHO's Department of Health Promotion.

Doctor shares factors that can help reduce cancer risk
Doctor shares factors that can help reduce cancer risk

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The organization said the Southeast Asia region currently has the highest percentage of population using tobacco — with more than a quarter of adults partaking. It's closely followed by the European region, which is just under that 25% adult use figure. 

The WHO is advising countries to put policies in place that discourage tobacco use and "fight against tobacco industry."

A new report from the American Cancer Society shows that while lung cancer rates are declining, about 125,000 people in the country are projected to die from the disease in 2024. It adds that about 100,000 of those deaths will be caused by cigarette smoking. An additional 3,500 will be caused by second-hand smoke, the report says. 

Lung cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. The American Cancer Society report says it has a five-year survival rate of just 25%.