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Ihor Kuzin took part in the presentation of the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic

9 December 2021

Deputy Minister of Health – Chief State Sanitary doctor Ihor Kuzin took part in the presentation of the World Health Organization report on the global tobacco epidemic.

The event was attended by Angela Ciobanu, Technical Specialist of the Tobacco Control Program of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Vladyslav Zbanatskyi, Deputy Director General of the state institution “Center for Public Health” and Andrii Skipalskyi, National Coordinator of Programs on Noncommunicable Diseases of the WHO office in Ukraine.

The presentation of the report was organized by the public organization “Life” commissioned by the WHO office.

According to the report, about 38 million children aged 13-15 currently use tobacco products worldwide. According to the global survey of young people on tobacco use conducted in 2017 in Ukraine, every fifth schoolchild aged 13-15 years is a current consumer of electronic cigarettes, and 15% are current consumers of tobacco products.

The Chief State Sanitary doctor noted the importance of strengthening anti-smoking legislation to preserve the health of Ukrainians.

“Reducing the prevalence of smoking is a global trend in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which is supported by Ukraine. As a party to the WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control, we are faced with the task of comprehensive implementation of MPOWER measures, and therefore the corporate interests of companies should not interfere with the protection of human health. We are convinced that the adoption of draft law No. 4358 will strengthen the anti-smoking legislation in Ukraine and help protect children from smoking, which will save thousands of lives”, Ihor Kuzin said.

Angela Ciobanu stressed that the new WHO report shows that despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, countries continue to successfully fight the tobacco epidemic.

“WHO predicts a 25.9% decrease in the prevalence of tobacco use in Ukraine between 2010-2025.  This achievement is fragile, as we are concerned about the relatively high prevalence of electronic cigarette use among Ukrainian youth. Evidence shows that those who use e-cigarettes are more than twice as likely to consume regular cigarettes. WHO calls on all countries to take comprehensive evidence-based measures to reduce nicotine addiction and tobacco use by implementing all the provisions of the WHO FCTC and fully implementing MPOWER”, said Angela Ciobanu.

Vladyslav Zbanatskyi stressed that the safety of electronic cigarettes is a myth, and such things also cause addiction.

“Aggressive advertising of tobacco corporations convinces smokers that the use of products of electonic heating of tobacco and e-cigarettes is less harmful and will help to quit smoking. But this is only an illusion of less harm. Such products are highly addictive and harmful to health, just like regular cigarettes. For example, electronic heater aerosol contains the same number of carcinogens — more than 50, 22 of them are twice as toxic, and another 7 are ten times more toxic than “cigarette” ones. I emphasize that there is no safe smoking! It is necessary to ban advertising of electronic devices and their smoking in public places”, said the deputy general director of the Center for Public Health.

Oksana Levytska, Project Coordinator of the public organization “Life”, summed up that the most effective measure to reduce the impact of tobacco is to improve legislation.

“MPOWER’s measures have been proven to save lives and save public funds by preventing the cost of providing medical care to tobacco victims. And the most effective way to implement MPOWER measures is to improve legislation. In June, the comprehensive anti-smoking draft law No. 4358 was adopted in the first reading, the norms of which are based on the WHO FCTC and implement the provisions of the European integration directive 2014/40/EC. The adoption of draft law No. 4358 will save thousands of Ukrainians from being involved in deadly tobacco addiction”, Oksana Levytska said.

For reference: the first WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic was published in 2008. Currently, such a report is prepared every 2 years. The eighth WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic summarizes national efforts to implement the most effective demand reduction measures provided for in the WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control (WHO FCTC), which have proven effective as ways to reduce tobacco use. The complex of these measures is abbreviated as “MPOWER:

  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco

An infographic with the main results of the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2021 is available here.