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Partnership for Prevention

Shaping Policies | Improving Health



According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year and accounts for one in 10 deaths among adults. Additionally, tobacco use contributes to 6 of the 8 leading causes of death worldwide, many of which are avoidable.  An estimated $500 billion is spent each year on health care expenditures, productivity losses, fire damage and other costs due to tobacco use.

The tobacco use burden on global health is disproportionately distributed.  More than half of the tobacco related deaths occur in low and middle income countries. Two thirds of tobacco use is attributable to just 10 countries: China, India, Indonesia, Russia, USA, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Germany and Turkey. Asia Pacific is responsible for 60% of all tobacco use. Worldwide, more men smoke than women at a ratio of 4 to 1; however, increasingly more women are becoming smokers. As a result, many households are exposed to secondhand smoke, which is responsible for 600,000 more deaths annually – a quarter of which are children.

Less than 10% of the world’s population lives in countries that fully protect citizens with key tobacco control policies. Tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century and, if current trends persist, tobacco will kill one billion people in the 21st century.

Web Resources


World Health Organization—Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

WHO created the TFI in 1998 to focus international attention, resources, and action on the global tobacco epidemic.


World Health Organization—Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

WHO FCTC is an international, evidence-based treaty negotiated under WHO that was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic.


CDC—Global Tobacco Control

The CDC’s Global Tobacco Surveillance System Data (GTSSData) houses and displays data from four tobacco-related surveys conducted around the world.


World Lung Foundation (WLF)

WLF works to improve the lives of individuals across the world by strengthening community capacity to prevent and manage lung disease.


International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

The Union brings innovation, expertise, solutions and support to address lung disease and tuberculosis in low- and middle-income populations.


Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use around the world.


The Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


The Global Smokefree Partnership (GSP)

GSP is a global partnership dedicated to promoting effective smoke-free air policies worldwide.


Fact Sheets


WHO Fact Sheet on Tobacco


WHO 10 Facts about Global Tobacco Control


Toll of Tobacco Around the World


Global Tobacco Research


World Bank—Tobacco Control


The Global Tobacco Treaty



A Half Century of Avoidable Death: A Global Perspective on Tobacco in America New


CDC Morbidity and Mortality Report: Health-Care Provider Screening for Tobacco Smoking and Advice to Quit - 17 Countries, 2008-2011


A Survey of Tobacco Dependence Treatment Guidelines in 121 Countries


A Survey of Tobacco Dependence Treatment Services in 121 Countries 


The Tobacco Atlas 4th Edition


WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2011


WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control


Protecting Against Tobacco Industry Interference: 2010 Global Tobacco Treaty Action Guide


Taxation of Cigarettes in the Bloomberg Initiative Countries


Cigarette Package Health Warnings—International Status Report


How Do You Sell Death?


Lessons Learned Globally: Secondhand Smoke Mass Media Campaigns




MPOWER+ Scheme


WHO Technical Manual on Tobacco Tax Administration


Global Map of Smoke Free Policies




The Future of Global Tobacco Control


The Global Tobacco Epidemic: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Bloomberg Philanthropies: Accelerating the Worldwide Movement to Reduce Tobacco Use

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