That is the conclusion of a major new review, written by leading world experts and published in the medical journal, Addiction. The review examined a wide range of measures that healthcare systems in different countries can adopt to help smokers to stop. It reviewed how effective they are and how much they cost, and offers a new tool to help governments and healthcare administrators calculate the cost -- and affordability -- of stop smoking treatments.
The main findings of the review were:
Tobacco smoking is estimated to kill about 6 million people each year worldwide and this number is rising. Tax increases, advertising bans, smoke-free laws and media campaigns play a crucial role in combating this epidemic. Supporting smokers to stop has so far received less attention in most countries, but is an important additional measure.
Professor Robert West, lead author of the report commented "The death and suffering caused worldwide by tobacco far outstrips anything that terrorists have been able to inflict. Many governments have started to introduce measures -- such as increasing taxes and restricting smoking in public places -- measures which make smokers want to stop. However few countries are actively supporting smokers to stop. Our report shows that every country in the world could be doing something. The more a country does, the more of their citizens' lives they will protect."
Professor Martin Raw, Director of the International Centre for Tobacco Cessation, and a key author of the report said "One of the barriers to countries doing more to offer support has been concern about cost. We highlight several approaches that can be introduced at very low cost, and offer governments a tool to help them select approaches."
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