Anti-tobacco awareness campaigns, advertising bans and laws prohibiting smoking in public places have proven effective by keeping hundreds of millions of people away from the habit, a UN report has said.
According to the report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013, the number of people covered by bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship increased by almost 400 million since 2003, bringing the total number of people covered to 2.3 billion or one in every three person.
In addition, 3 billion people, most living in low and middle-income countries, are now covered by national anti-tobacco campaigns, said the report produced by World Health Organisation.
However, it notes that to achieve the globally agreed target of 30 per cent reduction of tobacco use by 2025, more countries will have to implement comprehensive tobacco control programs.
"If we do not close ranks and ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, adolescents and young adults will continue to be lured into tobacco consumption by an ever-more aggressive tobacco industry," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.
"Every country has the responsibility to protect its population from tobacco-related illness, disability and death."
Tobacco is the leading global cause of preventable death and kills 6 million people every year. It can cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.
By 2030, WHO estimates that it will kill more than 8 million people every year.
Bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are one of the most powerful measures to control tobacco use.
As of today, 67 countries do not ban any tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities.
"Countries that introduced complete bans together with other tobacco control measures have been able to cut tobacco use significantly within only a few years," said Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO's Prevention of Non communicable Diseases department.
The report also notes that 32 countries have passed laws banning smoking at all work places, public places and public transportation.
This last measure, WHO says, has had the highest level of achievement, keeping hundreds of millions of people smoke-free.