Namibians increasingly shun cigarettes

Namibia now has fewer smokers than it had in 2015, but it is unlikely to reach the voluntary global target of a 30% reduction in tobacco use between 2010 and 2025.

19 November 2021 | Health

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) fourth global tobacco trends report shows that there are now 1.3 billion tobacco users in the world, compared to 1.32 billion in 2015.

This number is expected to drop to 1.27 billion by 2025.

In Namibia it is estimated that there are at least 216 000 tobacco users aged 15 and older, while 171 000 of them are male.

The report further notes that 23% of the global population used tobacco - 36.7% of all men and 7.8% of the world’s women.

In Namibia, 13.5% of the population used tobacco - 22.4% of men and 5.3% of women.

This is down slightly from the 14.9% smokers in 2015, while it is estimated that in 2025 it will further decrease to 12.2%.

According to the report, 60 countries are now on track to achieving the voluntary global target of a 30% reduction in tobacco use between 2010 and 2025; two years ago, only 32 countries were on track.

Namibia is likely to achieve a reduction in tobacco use, but less than 30%, the report says.

Dying habit

“It is very encouraging to see fewer people using tobacco each year and more countries on track to meet global targets,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.

“We still have a long way to go, and tobacco companies will continue to use every trick in the book to defend the gigantic profits they make from peddling their deadly wares.

“We encourage all countries to make better use of the many effective tools available for helping people to quit, and saving lives.”

The report further notes that approximately 38 million children aged between 13 and 15 currently use tobacco, of which 13 million are girls.

“In most countries it is illegal for minors to purchase tobacco products. The goal is to achieve zero child tobacco users.”

The WHO’s African Region has the lowest average rate of tobacco use at 10% in 2020, according to the report.

[email protected]

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