Every year, more than 8 million people die from tobacco use. Most tobacco-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, areas that are targets of intensive tobacco industry interference and marketing.
Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers. Second-hand tobacco smoke contributes to heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, causing an additional 1.2 million deaths annually. In addition to the detrimental impact of tobacco on health, the total economic cost of smoking (from health expenditures and productivity losses together) are estimated to be around 1.4 trillion USD per year, equivalent in magnitude to 1.8% of the world's annual gross domestic product (GDP). Almost 40% of this cost occurred in developing countries, highlighting the substantial burden these countries suffer.
The scale of this human and economic tragedy is shocking, but it’s also preventable. Big Tobacco — along with all manufacturers of tobacco products — is fighting to ensure the dangers of their products are concealed, but we are fighting back: In 2003, WHO Member States unanimously adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the only public health treaty under the auspices of WHO. In force since 2005, it has currently 181 Parties.
To help countries implement the WHO FCTC, WHO introduced MPOWER, a package of technical measures and resources, each of which corresponds to at least one provision of the WHO FCTC. MPOWER builds the capacity of countries to implement certain provisions of the WHO FCTC.