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Tobacco intervention research in low- and middle-income countries: lessons learned and future directions

  • Kenneth D. Ward (a1)

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Treating tobacco dependence is paramount for global tobacco control efforts, but is often overshadowed by other policy priorities. As stated by Jha (2009), “cessation by current smokers is the only practical way to avoid a substantial proportion of tobacco deaths worldwide before 2050.” Its importance is codified in Article 14 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and in the WHO's MPOWER package of effective country-level policies. Unfortunately, only 15% of the world's population have access to appropriate cessation support (WHO, 2015). Moreover, parties to the FCTC have implemented only 51% of the indicators within Article 14, on average, which is far lower than many other articles (WHO, 2014). Further, commenting on the use of “O” measures (Offer help to quit tobacco use) in the MPOWER acronym, WHO recently concluded, “while there has been improvement in implementing comprehensive tobacco cessation services, this is nonetheless a most under-implemented MPOWER measure in terms of the number of countries that have fully implemented it” (WHO, 2015). To the detriment of global tobacco control efforts, only one in eight countries provides comprehensive cost-covered services, only one in four provide some cost coverage for nicotine replacement therapy, and fewer than one third provide a toll-free quit line (WHO, 2015).

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