by Jan Krömer (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Geneva, Switzerland, hosted this week’s eighth conference organized by the Framework Convention of the World Health Organization for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), an event in which new forms of tobacco use, like narguile and smokeless tobacco have been the main protagonists. The event, one of the most important in the world, brings together ministers, government representatives, UN agencies, international intergovernmental organizations and representatives of civil society and was the setting for the 2018 Global Progress Report on Implementation, presented by WHO FCTC.

The report’s main takeaway is that alternative forms of tobacco are now taking hold around the world. “Smokeless tobacco and water pipes were traditionally used in several country-members of the Convention, but recently there has been an expansion of the availability of such products in many parts of the world,” says the report. According to the WHO research and contrary to popular belief, water pipes can also harm people’s health, since the smoke it gives off contains numerous toxins. Also, smoking in a hookah can expose the smoker to more smoke over a longer period of time.

In the Americas, studies on tobacco smoking in water pipes have focused on the US and Canada. According to the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey, in 2009 Mexico showed a daily prevalence rate below 0.2 percent, while in the US the prevalence rate was 0.5 percent.

According to the report published by the WHO, over half of all country-members declared having new and emerging products available in their markets, with water pipe tobacco the most common one followed by the smokeless tobacco. In 2016, water pipe tobacco or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) reached US$8.61 billion in sales and are is expected to reach US$26.84 billion by 2030. Therefore, the who FCTC has added as a challenge and a priority to start addressing other provisions that include these emerging trends to avoid the escalation of new global health detriments.

However, this year, the WHO also shared that positive results have been obtained because most of the WHO FCTC members have implemented strategies to control tobacco-related issues. “Comprehensive multi-sectoral national strategies and action plans for tobacco control have been implemented or developed,” said the WHO FCTC in an official press release.

Alessa Flores

by Alessa Flores

Industry Analyst and Journalist at Mexico Business Publishing

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