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WHO Launches Landmark Guidelines to Help Millions Quit Tobacco

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published its first-ever clinical treatment guidelines for quitting tobacco.

In a statement, the UN health agency explained that the guidelines are aimed at assisting the over 750 million tobacco users worldwide who wish to stop using all forms of tobacco.

According to WHO, the guidelines offer a comprehensive set of tobacco cessation interventions, including behavioral support provided by healthcare professionals.

It further noted that these recommendations apply to all adults looking to quit various tobacco products, such as cigarettes, waterpipes, smokeless tobacco products, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, and heated tobacco products (HTPs).

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking on the guidelines, highlighted the significance of these guidelines, calling them a crucial milestone in the global fight against tobacco. “They equip countries with the essential tools to effectively support individuals in quitting tobacco and help alleviate the global burden of tobacco-related diseases,” he said.

WHO pointed out that more than 60% of the world’s 1.25 billion tobacco users—over 750 million people—want to quit, but 70% lack access to effective cessation services. This shortfall is often due to resource limitations within health systems.

Dr. Rüdiger Krech, WHO’s Director of Health Promotion, also speaking on the guidelines, emphasized the enormous challenge people face when trying to quit smoking. “We need to deeply appreciate the strength it takes and the suffering endured by individuals and their loved ones to overcome this addiction,” he said. “These guidelines are designed to help communities and governments provide the best possible support and assistance for those on this challenging journey.”

WHO also noted that combining pharmacotherapy with behavioral interventions significantly increases the chances of successfully quitting tobacco.

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