Every year, more than 8 million people die from tobacco use and more than 7 million of those deaths are from direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that revealed 21% of the global population aged 15 and above smoked tobacco. Men smoked at five times the rate of women; the average rates were 36 and 7%, respectively. Although Caribbean countries are generally below this global average, the region is dominated by small island developing states with limited absolute resources to counter tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
WHO released another a report in December last year which revealed a downward trend by male tobacco users between 2000 to 2018. Government actions and strategies including:
- Monitoring tobacco use and implementing prevention policies.
- Protecting people from tobacco smoke.
- Offering help to quit tobacco use.
- Warning people about the dangers of tobacco.
- Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
- Raising taxes on tobacco product,
combined have been effective in contributing to this decline in smoking not only in males but with females and youths too.