“Tobacco control is progressing but more needs to be done,” says World Health Organization.
Rabat – The World Health Organization’s seventh report on the global tobacco epidemic analyzes countries’ efforts to implement the most effective measures to reduce the demand for tobacco.
The report, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, shows that only 23 countries have implemented smoking cessation support at the highest level. “116 other countries provide services whose costs are entirely or partially covered by institutions and 32 other countries provide these services, but do not cover costs,” says the report.
WHO tobacco control measures
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has 168 signatories and more than 150 Parties. The convention sets out the principles and context for the development of policies and mobilization of political and financial resources for tobacco control.
In order to help countries carry out these principles, WHO established a policy program called MPOWER. MPOWER stands for:
- Monitor consumption of tobacco and the policies of prevention
- Protect the population against tobacco smoke
- Offer help to those who want to quit
- Warn against the dangers of smoking
- Enforce the ban on advertising, promotion, and sponsorship in favor of tobacco
- Raise taxes on tobacco
In its publication, “MPOWER: A Policy Program to Reverse The Course of The Epidemic”, WHO says that “smoking is often wrongly perceived as a personal choice.”
“Even fully informed of its health consequences, most tobacco users want to quit but have trouble getting there because of the addictive power of nicotine,” the organization adds.
“Although the lethal consequences of smoking have been scientifically proven, only a number of countries are fighting the epidemic; developing countries are even fewer to do so,” says the publication.
The organization further stresses that “women and young adults are the favorite targets of the tobacco industry in these countries because they are the category which offers the greatest potential for increased sales and profits.”
Tobacco consumption in Morocco
According to The Tobacco Atlas 2017 report, “smoking tobacco causes exposure to a lethal mixture of more than 7000 toxic chemicals, including at least 70 known carcinogens that can damage nearly every organ system in the human body.”
The report specifies that every year, more than 17,600 of Moroccan people are killed by tobacco-caused disease. Yet, more than 10,000 children (10-14 years old) and 47,710.00 adults (15+ years old) continue to use tobacco each day.
Female Smokers in Morocco
The report mentions that, in 2015, 0.8% of Moroccan females (15+ Year Old) and 0.23% children (10–14 Y.O.) smoke daily.
“Even though fewer women smoke in Morocco than on average in medium-HDI countries (Human Development Index), there are still more than 102,600 women and more than 3,200 girls who smoke cigarettes daily,” says the report.
In 2016, 3.74% of female smokers died of tobacco consumption in Morocco.
Male smokers in Morocco
According to the same report, 38.3% of male adults (15+ Y.O.) and 0.52% of children (10–14 Y.O.) use tobacco daily. More than 7,600 boys smoke cigarettes each day.
Similarly to female smokers, more men smoke in Morocco than on average in medium-HDI countries. The male smokers’ death toll in 2016 reached 14.99%.
According to Fondation Lalla Salma for the fight against cancer, “Morocco is considered one of the biggest consumers of tobacco in the Mediterranean area with more than 15 billion cigarettes a year.”
The foundation considers that 90% of lung cancers and 25% of coronary insufficiency including infarction are caused by tobacco consumption.
Tobacco and Moroccan Economy
The Tobacco Atlas report also indicates that the economic cost of smoking in Morocco amounts to MAD 16,371 million. This includes direct costs related to healthcare expenditures and indirect costs related to lost productivity due to early mortality.
According to the Lalla Salma foundation, “a national survey on habits and behaviors of smokers published in 2008 shows that the Moroccan smoker spends, on average, MAD 22 per day for the purchase of tobacco, 30% of the legal minimum wage in Morocco.”
Since 1996, Morocco has an anti-smoking law (No. 15-91) which prohibits smoking in certain public places, propaganda, and the advertising of tobacco.
The law also stipulates that all cigarette packages should include the warning message: “smoking kills.”