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WTO: No country implements tabacco control measures
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No single country has carried out all of the anti-smoking measures necessary to forestall illness, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a new report released on Thursday.

"While efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more," said Margaret Chan, director-general of the UN agency.

The agency found that only 5 percent of the world's population reside in countries fully protecting residents with any one of the crucial measures to reduce smoking rates.

The report noted that governments collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes annually than they spend on anti-tobacco initiatives.

In nearly all countries, WHO said tobacco taxes could be raised, the most effective strategy in combating tobacco, and the additional funds can be used to kick-start new strategies called MPOWER.

MPOWER urges nations to "monitor" tobacco use and prevention policies, "offer" help to quit tobacco use, "enforce" bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and "raise" taxes on tobacco.

"These strategies are within the reach of every country, rich or poor and, when combined as a package, they offer us the best chance of reversing this growing epidemic," Chan said.

The new report also highlighted the epidemic's impact on the developing world, where, by 2030, 80 percent of the 8 million tobacco-related deaths yearly are expected to occur.

Currently, lower-income countries receive 9,000 times the amount of money from tobacco taxes than they spend on tobacco control.

The study also found that 40 percent of countries still allow smoking in hospitals and schools, and services to treat dependence on tobacco are only fully available in nine countries, or 5 percent of the global population.
(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2008)

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